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// ns.4-? £ 

3&artoart College librarg 



(Class of 1814) 


" Preference being given to works in the 
Intellectual and Moral Sciences" 

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The Life 

of Reason ; or the Phases of 

5 vols. , each $1.25 net 
(Postage extra) 


Introduction and 
Common Sense 

Reason in 


Reason in Society 


Reason in Religion 

IV - 

Reason in Art 


Reason in Science 

The Sens* 

: of Beauty 

izmo, $1.50 

Interpretations of Poetry 

and Religion 

i2mo, $1.50 

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ij yap vov cvipycia (<orj 




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Copyright, 1905, by 

Published, February, 1906 




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Science still young. — Its miscarriage in Greece. — Its 
timid reappearance in modern times. — Distinction between 
science and myth. — Platonic status of hypothesis. — Mean- 
ing of verification. — Possible validity of myths. — Any 
dreamed-of thing might be experienced. — But science 
follows the movement of its subject-matter. — Moral value of 
science. — Its continuity with common knowledge. — Its in- 
tellectual essence. — Unity of science. — In existence, judged 
by reflection, there is a margin of waste. — Sciences converge 
from different points of origin. — Two chief kinds of science, 
physics and dialectic. — Their mutual implication. — Their 
cooperation. — No science a priori. — R61e of criticism. 

Pages 3-38 


History an artificial memory. — Second sight requires 
control. — Nature the theme common to various memories. 
—Growth of legend. — No history without documents. — 
The aim is truth. — Indirect methods of attaining it. — His- 
torical research a part of physics. — Verification here in- 
direct. — Futile ideal to survey all facts. — Historical theory. 
— It is arbitrary. — A moral critique of the past is possible. 
— How it might be just. — Transition to historical romance. 
— Possibility of genuine epics. — Literal truth abandoned. — 
History exists to be transcended. — Its great rAle. 

Pages 39-68 

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Recurrent forms in nature. — Their discovery makes the 
flux calculable. — Looser principles tried first. — Mechanism 
for the most part hidden. — Yet presumably pervasive. — 
Inadequacy of consciousness. — Its articulation inferior to 
that of its objects. — Science consequently retarded, and 
speculation rendered necessary. — -Dissatisfaction with 
mechanism partly natural, and partly artificial. — Biassed 
judgments inspired by moral inertia. — Positive emotions 
proper to materialism. — The material world not dead nor 
ugly, nor especially cruel. — Mechanism to be judged by its 
fruits Pages 69-94 



Mechanism restricted to one-half of existence. — Men of 
science not speculative. — Confusion in semi-moral sub- 
jects. — "Physic of metaphysic begs defence." — Evolution 
jy mechanism. — Evolution by ideal attraction. — If species 
are evolved they cannot guide evolution. — Intrusion of 
optimism. — Evolution according to Hegel. — The conserva- 
tive interpretation. — The radical one. — Megalomania. — 
Chaos in the theory of mind. — Origin of self-consciousness. 
— The notion of spirit. — The notion of sense. — Competition 
between the two. — The rise of scepticism. . .Pages 95-125 




Mind reading not science. — Experience a reconstruction. 
— The honest art of education. — Arbitrary readings of the 
mind. — Human nature appealed to rather than described. 
— Dialectic in psychology. — Spinoza on the passions. — A 
principle of estimation cannot govern events. — Scientific 
psychology a part of biology.— -Confused attempt to de- 
tach the psychic element. — -Differentia of the psychic. — 
Approach to irrelevant sentience. — Perception represents 
things in their practical relation to the body. — Mind the 

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existence in which form becomes actual. — Attempt at 
idealistic physics. — Association not efficient. — It describes 
coincidences. — Linderstanding is based on instinct and ex- 
pressed in dialectic. — Suggestion a fancy name for autom- 
atism, and will another. — Double attachment of mind 
to nature. — Is the subject-matter of psychology absolute 
being? — Sentience is representable only in fancy. — The 
conditions and objects of sentience, which are not sentience, 
are also real. — Mind knowable and important in so far as 
it represents other things Pages 126-166 



Dialectic better than physics. — Maladjustments to nature 
render physics conspicuous and unpleasant. — Physics 
should be largely virtual, and dialectic explicit. — Intent 
is vital and indescribable. — It is analogous to flux in 
existence. — It expresses natural life. — It has a material 
basis. — It is necessarily relevant to earth. — The basis of 
intent becomes appreciable in language. — Intent starts 
from a datum, and is carried by a feeling. — It demands 
conventional expression. — A fable about matter and 
form Pages 167-186 



Dialectic elaborates given forms. — Forms are abstracted 
from existence by intent. — Confusion comes of imperfect 
abstraction, or ambiguous intent. — The fact that mathe- 
matics applies to existence is empirical. — Its moral value 
is therefore contingent. — Quantity submits easily to dia- 
lectical treatment —Constancy and progress in intent. — 
Intent determines the functional essence of objects. — Also 
the scope of ideals. — Double status of mathematics. — 
Practical r61e of dialectic. — HegeFsTsatire on dialectic. — 
Dialectic expresses a given intent. — Its empire is ideal 
and autonomous Pages 187-209 

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Empirical alloy in dialectic. — Arrested rationality in 
morals. — Its emotional and practical power. — Moral science 
is an application of dialectic, not a part of anthropology. — 
Estimation the soul of philosophy.— Moral discriminations 
are natural and inevitable. — A choice of proverbs. — Their 
various representative value. — Conflict of partial morali- 
ties. — The Greek ideal. — Imaginative exuberance and 
political discipline. — Sterility of Greek example. — Pre- 
rational morality among the Jews. — The development of 
conscience. — Need of Hebraic devotion to Greek aims. — 
Prerational morality marks an acquisition but offers no 
programme Pages 210-232 



Moral passions represent private interests. — Common 
ideal interests may supervene. — To this extent there is 
rational society. — A rational morality not attainable, but 
its principle clear. — It is the logpc of an autonomous will. — 
Socrates' science. — Its opposition to sophistry and moral 
anarchy. — Its vitality. — Genuine altruism is natural self- 
expression. — Reason expresses impulses, but impulses 
reduced to harmony. — Self-love artificial. — The sanction 
of reason is happiness. — Moral science impeded by its 
chaotic data, ana its unrecognised scope. — Fallacy in 
democratic hedonism. — Sympathy a conditional duty. — 
All life, and hence right life, finite and particular. 

Pages 233-261 



Socratic ethics retrospective. — Rise of disillusioned 
moralities. — The illusion subsisting in them. — Epicurean 
refuge in pleasure. — Stoic recourse to conformity. — Con- 
formity the core of Islam, enveloped in arbitrary doctrines. 
—The latter alone lend it practical force. — Moral ambiguity 
in pantheism. — Under stress, it becomes ascetic and 
requires a mythology. — A supernatural world made by the 

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Platonist out of dialectic. — The Hebraic cry for redemp- 
tion. — The two factors meet in Christianity. — Consequent 
electicism. — The negation of naturalism never complete. 
—Spontaneous values rehabilitated. — A witness out of 
India. — Dignity of post-rational morality. — Absurdities 
nevertheless involved. — The soul of positivism in all ideals. 
— Moribund dreams and perennial realities. 

Pages 262-300 



Various modes of revising science. — Science its own best 
critic— Obstruction by alien traditions. — Needless anxiety 
for moral interests. — Science an imaginative and practical 
art. — Arriere-pensee in transcendentalism. — Its romantic 
sincerity. — Its constructive impotence. — Its dependence 
on common-sense. — Its futility. — Ideal science is self- 
justified. — Physical science is presupposed in scepticism. 
— It recurs in all understanding of perception.— -Science 
contains all trustworthy knowledge. — It suffices for the 
Life of Reason Pages 301-320 

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Science is so new a thing and so far from final, 
it seems to the layman so hopelessly accurate and 
Science 8tai extensive, that a moralist may well 
young. feel S ome diffidence in trying to es- 

timate its achievements and promises at their 
human worth. The morrow may bring some 
great revolution in science, and is sure to bring 
many a correction and many a surprise. Belig-| 
ion and art have had their day; indeed a part of 
the faith they usually inspire is to believe that 
they have long ago revealed their secret. A critic 
may safely form a judgment concerning them; 
for even if he dissents from the orthodox opinion 
and ventures to hope that religion and art may 
assume in the future forms far nobler and more 
rational than any they have hitherto worn, still 
he must confess that art and religion have had 
several turns at the wheel; they have run their 
course through in various ages and climes with 
results which anybody is free to estimate if he 
has an open mind and sufficient interest in the 
subject. Science, on the contrary, which ap- 
parently cannot exist where intellectual freedom 

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is denied, has flourished only twice in recorded 
times: once for some three hundred years in an- 
cient Greece, and again for about the same period 
in modern Christendom. Its fruits have scarcely 
begun to appear; the lands it is discovering have 
not yet been circumnavigated, and there is no tell- 
ing what its ultimate influence will be on human 
practice and feeling. 

The first period in the life of science was 
brilliant but ineffectual. The Greeks' energy 
its miscarriage and liberty were too soon spent, and 
in Greece. the very exuberance of their genius 
made its expression chaotic. Where every mind 
was so fresh and every tongue so clever no 
scientific tradition could arise, and no laborious 
applications could be made to test the value of 
rival notions and decide between them. Men of 
science were mere philosophers. Each began, not 
where his predecessor had ended, but at the very 
beginning. Another circumstance that impeded 
the growth of science was the forensic and rhetori- 
cal turn proper to Greek intelligence. This men- 
tal habit gave a tremendous advantage in philos- 
ophy to the moralist and poet over the naturalist 
or mathematician. Hence what survived in 
Greece after the heyday of theoretic achievement 
was chiefly philosophies of life, and these — at the 
death of liberty — grew daily more personal and 
ascetic. Authority in scientific matters clung 
chiefly to Plato and Aristotle, and this not for 
the sake of their incomparable moral philosophy — 

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for in ethics that decadent age preferred the Stoics 
and Epicureans — but just for those rhetorical ex- 
pedients which in the Socratic school took the 
place of natural science. Worse influences in this 
field could hardly be imagined, since Plato's 
physics ends in myth and apologue, while Aris- 
totle's ends in nomenclature and teleology. 

All that remained of Greek physics, therefore, 
was the conception of what physics should be — a 
great achievement due to the earlier thinkers — and 
certain hints and guesses in that field. The ele- 
ments of geometry had also been formulated, 
while the Socratic school bequeathed to posterity 
a well-developed group of moral sciences, rational 
in principle, but destined to be soon overlaid with 
metaphysical and religious accretions, so that the 
dialectical nerve and reasonableness of them were 
obliterated, and there survived only miscellaneous 
conclusions, fragments of wisdom built topsy- 
turvy into the new mythical edifice. It is the sad 
task reserved for historical criticism to detach 
those sculptured stones from the rough mass in 
which they have been embedded and to rearrange 
them in their pristine order, thus rediscovering 
the inner Socratic principle of moral philosophy, 
which is nothing but self-knowledge — a circum- 
spect, systematic utterance of the speaker's mind, 
disclosing his implicit meaning and his ultimate 

At its second birth science took a very different 
form. It left cosmic theories to pantheistic en- 

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thusiasts like Giordano Bruno, while in sober 
laborious circles it confined itself to specific 
discoveries — the earth's roundness and 
reappearance motion about the sun, the laws of 
f?**° d * ni mechanics, the development and ap- 
plication of algebra, the invention of 
the calculus, and a hundred other steps forward 
in various disciplines. It was a patient siege laid 
to the truth, which was approached blindly and 
without a general, as by an army of ants; it 
was not stormed imaginatively as by the ancient 
Ionians, who had reached at once the notion of 
nature's dynamic unity, but had neglected to take 
possession in detail of the intervening tracts, 
whence resources might be drawn in order to 
maintain the main position. 

Nevertheless, as discoveries accumulated, they 
fell insensibly into a system, and philosophers like 
Descartes and Newton arrived at a general phys- 
ics. This physics, however, was not yet meant 
to cover the whole existent world, or to be the 
genetic account of all things in their system. 
Descartes excluded from his physics the whole 
mental and moral world, which became, so far 
as his science went, an inexplicable addendum. 
Similarly Newton's mechanical principles, broad 
as they were, were conceived by him merely as a 
parenthesis in theology. Not until the nineteenth 
century were the observations that had been ac- 
cumulated given their full value or in fact under- 
stood; for Spinoza's system, though naturalistic 

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in spirit, was still dialectical in form, and liad no* 
influence on science and for a long time little even 
on speculation. 

Indeed the conception of a natural order, like ^ 
the Greek cosmos, which shall include all exis- 
tences — gods no less than men, if gods actually ex- 
ist — is one not yet current, although it is implied 
in every scientific explanation and is favoured by * 
two powerful contemporary movements which, 
coming from different quarters, are leading men's 
minds back to the same ancient and obvious nat- 
uralism. One of these movements is the philos- 
ophy of evolution, to which Darwin gave such an 
irresistible impetus. The other is theology itself, 
where it has been emancipated from authority and 
has set to work to square men's conscience with* 
history and experience. This theology has gen- ^ 
erally passed into speculative idealism, which 
under another name recognises the universal em- 
pire of law and conceives man's life as an in- 
cident in a prodigious natural process, by which 
his mind and his interests are produced and de- 
voured. This " idealism " is in truth a system of 
immaterial physics, like that of Pythagoras or 
Heraclitus. While it works with fantastic and 
shifting categories, which no plain naturalist 
would care to use, it has nothing to apply those 
categories to except what the naturalist or his- 
torian may already have discovered and expressed 
in the categories of common prose. German 
idealism is a translation of physical evolution into ' 

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mythical language, which presents the facts now 
in the guise of a dialectical progression, now in 
that of a romantic drama. In either case the 
facts are the same, and just those which positive 
knowledge has come upon. Thus many who are 
not brought to naturalism by science are brought 
to it, quite unwillingly and unawares, by their 
religious speculations. 

The gulf that yawns between such idealistic 
cosmogonies and a true physics , may serve to 
make clear the divergence in princi- 
Stween° n P* e w ^ich everywhere divides natural 
science and science from arbitrary conceptions of 
m things. This divergence is as far 

as possible from lying in the merit of the two 
sorts of theory. Their merit, and the genius and 
observation required to frame them, may well be 
equal, or an imaginative system may have the ad- 
vantage in these respects. It may even be more 
(serviceable for a while and have greater pragmatic 
value, so long as knowledge is at best fragmentary, 
and no consecutive or total view of things is at- 
tempted by either party. Thus in social life a 
psychology expressed in terms of abstract faculties 
and personified passions may well carry a man 
farther' than a physiological psychology would. 
Or, again, we may say that there was more ex- 
perience and love of nature enshrined in ancient 
mythology than in ancient physics; the observant 
poet might then have fared better in the world 
than the pert and ignorant materialist. Nor does 

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the difference between science and myth lie in the 
fact that the one is essentially less speculative than 
the other. They are differently speculative, it is 
true, since myth terminates in unverifiable notions . 
that might by chance represent actual existences ; 
while science terminates in concepts or laws, 
themselves not possibly existent, but verified by 
recurring particular facts, belonging to the same 
experience as those from which the theory started. 
The laws formulated by science — the transitive 
figments describing the relation between fact 
and fact — possess only a Platonic sort 

Platonic- •,.,«« i •* 

.status of of reality. They are more real, if 

hypothesis. vou w y^ than the facts themselves, 
because they are more permanent, trustworthy, 
and pervasive; but at the same time they are, if 
you will, not real at all, because they are incom- 
patible with immediacy and alien to brute exis- 
tence. In declaring what is true of existences 
they altogether renounce existence on their own 
behalf. This situation has made no end of trouble 
in ill-balanced minds, not docile to the diversities 
and free complexity of things, but bent on treat- 
ing everything by a single method. They have 
asked themselves persistently the confusing ques- 
tion whether the matter or the form of things is 
the reality; whereas, of course, both elements are 
needed, each with its incommensurable kind of ' 
being. The material element alone is existent, 
while the ideal element is the sum of all those 
propositions which are true of what exists mate- 

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rially. Anybody's knowledge of the truth, being 
a complex and fleeting feeling, is of course but a 
moment of existence or material being, which 
whether found in God or man is as far as pos- 
sible from being that truth itself which it may 
succeed in knowing. 

The true contrast between science and myth 
is more nearly touched when we say that sci- 
Meaninffof ence ^one is capable of verification, 
verification. Some ambiguity, however, lurks in 
this phrase, since verification comes to a method 
only vicariously, when the particulars it prophe- 
sies are realised in sense. To verify a theory as 
if it were not a method but a divination of oc 
cult existences would be to turn the theory into 
a myth and then to discover that what the mytq 
pictured had, by a miracle, an actual existence 
also. There is accordingly a sense in which myth 
admits substantiation of a kind that science ex- 
cludes. The Olympic hierarchy might conceiv- 
ably exist bodily; but gravitation and natural 
selection, being schemes of relation, can never ex- 
ist substantially and on their own behoof. Never- 
theless, the Olympic hierarchy, even if it hap- 
pened to exist, could not be proved to do so unless 
it were a part of the natural world open to sense ; 
while gravitation and natural selection, without 
being existences, can be verified at every moment 
by concrete events occurring as those principles 
require. A hypothesis, being a discursive device, 
gains its utmost possible validity when its discur- 

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sive value is established. It is not, it merely ap- 
plies; and every situation in which it is found to 
apply is a proof of its truth. 

The case would not be different with fables, 
were their basis and meaning remembered. But 
fables, when hypostatised, forget that they, too, 
were transitive symbols and boast to reveal an 
undiscoverable reality. A dogmatic myth is in 
this sorry plight: that the more evidence it can 
find to support it the more it abrogates its meta- 
physical pretensions, while the more it insists on 
its absolute truth the less relevance it has to ex- 
perience and the less meaning. To try to support 
fabulous dogmas by evidence is tantamount to 
acknowledging that they are merely scientific 
hypotheses, instruments of discou rse, and methods 
of expression. But in that caseTheir truth would 
no longer be supposed to lie in the fact that some- 
where beyond the range of human observation 
they descended bodily to the plane of flying ex- 
istence, and were actually enacted there. They 
would have ceased to resemble the society of 
Olympus, which to prove itself real would need to 
verify itself, since only the gods and those mor- 
tals admitted to their conclave could know for a 
fact that that celestial gathering existed. On the 
contrary, a speculation that could be supported 
by evidence would be one that might be made 
good without itself descending to the plane of 
immediacy, but would be sufficiently verified when 
diffuse facts fall out as it had led us to expect. 

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The myth in such a case would have become 
transparent again and relevant to experience, 
which could continually serve to support or to 
correct it. Even if somewhat overloaded and 
poetical, it would be in essence a scientific the- 
ory. It would no longer terminate in itself; it 
would point forward, leading the thinker that 
used it to eventual facts of experience, facts which" 
his poetic wisdom would have prepared him to 
meet and to use. 

If I say, for instance, that Punishment, limp- 
ing in one leg, patiently follows every criminal, 
p^^k the myth is obvious and innocent 

validity* enough. It reveals nothing, but, 
mytha " what is far better, it means some- 

thing. I have expressed a truth of experience and 
pointed vaguely to the course which events may 
be expected to take under given circumstances. 
The expression, though mythical in form, is sci- 
entific in effect, because it tends to surround a 
given phenomenon (the crime) with objects on 
its own plane — other passions and sensations to 
follow upon it. What would be truly mythical 
would be to stop at the figure of speech and main- 
tain, by way of revealed dogma, that a lame god- 
dess of vindictive mind actually follows every 
wicked man, her sword poised in mid-air. Sink- 
ing into that reverie, and trembling at its painted 
truth, I should be passing to the undiscoverable 
and forgetting the hard blows actually awaiting 
me in the world. Fable, detaining the mind too 

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long in the mesh of expression, would have become 
metaphysical dogma. I should have connected 
the given fact with imagined facts, which even if 
by chance real — for such a goddess may, for all 
we know, actually float in the fourth dimension — 
are quite supernumerary in my world, and never, 
by any possibility, can become parts or extensions 
of the experience they are thought to explain. 
The gods are demonstrable only as hypotheses, but 
as hypotheses they are not gods. 

The same distinction is sometimes expressed by 
saying that science deals only with objects of pos- 
sible experience. But this expression 
of thing*™* " i s unfortunate, because everything 
might be ex- thinkable, no matter how mythical 
and supernatural or how far beyond 
the range of mortal senses, is an object of possible 
experience. Tritons and sea-horses might observe 
one another and might feel themselves live. The 
thoughts and decrees said to occupy the divine 
mind from all eternity would certainly be phe- 
nomena there; they would be experienced things. 
Were fables really as metaphysical and visionary 
as they pretend to be, were they not all the while 
and in essence mere symbols for natural situa- 
tions, they would be nothing but reports about 
other alleged parts of experience. A Teal Triton, 
a real Creator, a real heaven would obviously be 
objects open to properly equipped senses and seats 
of much vivid experience. But a Triton after all 
has something to do with the ^Egean and other 

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earthly waters ; a Creator has something to do with 
the origin of man and of his habitat; heaven has 
something to do with the motives and rewards of 
moral action. Tliis relevance to given experience 
and its objects is what cuts those myths off from 
their blameless and gratuitous role of reporting 
experiences that might be going on merrily enough 
somewhere else in the universe. In calling them 
myths and denying that what they describe falls 
within the purview of science, we do not assert 
that, absolutely taken, they could not be objects 
of a possible experience. What we mean is rather 
that no matter how long we searched the sea 
waves, in which it is the essence of our Tritons to 
disport themselves, we should never find Tritons 
there; and that if we traced back the history of 
man and nature we should find them always pass- 
ing by natural generation out of slightly different 
earlier forms and never appearing suddenly, at the 
fiat of a vehement Jehovah swimming about in a 
chaos; and finally that if we considered critically 
our motives and our ideals, we should find them 
springing from and directed upon a natural life 
and its functions, and not at all on a disembodied 
and timeless ecstasy. Those myths, then, while 
they intrinsically refer to facts in the given world, 
describe those facts in incongruous terms. They 
are symbols, not extensions, for the experience we 

A chief characteristic of science, then, is that 
in supplementing given facts it supplements them 

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by adding other facts belonging to the same sphere, 
and eventually discoverable by tracing the given 
But science object in its own plane through its 
follows the continuous transformations. Science 

moTement of -• i a* i i_ xi. *j * 

its subject- expands speculatively, by the aid of 
matter. merely instrumental hypotheses, ob- 

jects given in perception until they compose a 
congruous, self-supporting world, all parts of ' 
which might be observed consecutively. What 
a scientific hypothesis interpolates among the 
given facts — the atomic structure of things, for 
instance — might come in time under the direct 
fire of attention, fixed more scrupulously, longer, 
or with better instruments upon those facts them- 
selves. Otherwise the hypothesis that assumed 
that structure would be simply false, just as a 
hypothesis that the interior of the earth is full of 
molten fire would be false if on inspection noth- 
ing were found there but solid rock. Science does 
not merely prolong a habit of inference; it veri- 
fies and solves the inference by reaching the fact 

The contrast with myth at this point is very 
interesting; for in myth the facts are themselves 
made vehicles, and knowledge is felt to terminate 
in an independent existence on a higher or deeper 
level than any immediate fact; and this circum- 
stance is what makes myth impossible to verify 
and, except by laughter, to disprove. If I attrib- 
uted the stars' shining to the diligence of angels 
who lighted their lamps at sunset, lest the upper 

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reaches of the world should grow dangerous for 
travellers, and if I made my romance elaborate 
and ingenious enough, I might possibly find that 
the stars' appearance and disappearance could con- 
tinue to be interpreted in that way. My myth 
might always suggest itself afresh and might be 
perennially ^propriate. But it would never de- 
scend, with its charming figures, into the company 
of its evidences. It would never prove that what 
it terminated in was a fact, as in my metaphysical 
faith I had deputed and asserted it to be. The 
angels would remain notional, while my intent was 
to have them exist; so Jhat the more earnestly I 
held to TOy faM^A^more grievously should I be 
deceived. For even if seraphic choirs existed in 
plenty on their own emotional or musical plane of 
being, it would not have been their hands — if they 
had hands — that would have lighted the stars I 
saw; and this, after all, was the gist and starting- 
point of my whole fable and its sole witness in 
'iny* world. A myth might by chance be a revela- 
tion, did what it talks of have an actual existence 
somewhere else in the universe; but it would need 
to be a revelation in order to be true at all, and 
would then be,Jtrue only in an undeserved and 
^spurious fashion. Any representative and prov- 
able validity which it might possess would assimu- 
late it to science and reduce it to a mere vehicle 
and instrument for human discourse. It would 
evaporate as soon as the prophecies it made were 
fulfilled, and it would claim no being and no wor- 

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ship on its own account. Science might accord- 
ingly be called a myth conscious of its essential 
ideality, reduced to its fighting weight and valued 
only for its significance. 

A symptom of the divergence between myth and 
science may be found in the contrary emotions 
Moral value Which they involve. Since in myth 
of science. we interpret experience in order to in- 
terpret it, in order to delight ourselves by turning 
it poetically into the language and prosody of our 
own life, the emotion we feel when we succeed is 
artistic; myth has a dramatic charm. Since in 
science, on the contrary, we employ notional 
machinery, in itself perhaps indifferent enough, 
in order to arrive at eventual facts and to con- 
ceive the aspect which given things would actually 
wear from a different point of view in space or 
time, the emotion we feel when we succeed is that 
of security and intellectual dominion; science has 
a rational value. To see better what we now see, 
to see by anticipation what we should see actually 
under other conditions, is wonderfully to satisfy 
curiosity and to enlighten conduct. At the same 
time, scientific thinking involves no less inward 
excitement than dramatic fiction does. It sum- 
mons before us an even larger number of objects 
in their fatal direction upon our interests. Were 
science adequate it would indeed absorb those pas- 
sions which now, since they must be satisfied 
somehow, have to be satisfied by dramatic myths. 
To imagine how things might have been would 

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be neither interesting nor possible if we knew 
fully how things are. All pertinent dramatic 
emotion, joyous or tragic, would then inhere in 
practical knowledge. As it is, however, science 
abstracts from the more musical overtones of 
things in order to trace the gross and basal proc- 
esses within them; so that the pursuit of science 
seems comparatively dry and laborious, except 
where at moments the vista opens through to the 
ultimate or leads back to the immediate. Then, 
perhaps, we recognise that in science we are sur- 
veying all it concerns us to know, and in so doing 
are becoming all that it profits us to be. Mere 
amusement in thought as in sportive action is tedi- 
ous and illiberal : it marks a temperament so im- 
perfectly educated that it prefers idle to signifi- 
cant play and a flimsy to a solid idea. 

The fact that science follows the subject- 
matter in its own movement involves a further 
iti continuity consequence: science differs from 
with common common knowledge in scope only, 
knowledge. n ^ ^ m^u^ When intelligence 

arises, when the flux of things begins to be miti- 
gated by representation of it and objects are at 
last fixed and recognisable, there is science. For 
even here, in the presence of a datum something 
virtual and potential is called up, namely, what 
the given thing was a moment ago, what it is 
growing into, or what it is contrasted with in 
character. As I walk round a tree, I learn that 
the parts still visible, those that have just dis- 

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appeared and those now coming into view, are con- 
tinuous and belong to the same tree. 

This declaration, though dialectic might find 
many a mare's nest in its language, is a safe and 
obvious enough expression of knowledge. It in- 
volves terms, however, which are in the act of be- 
coming potential. What is just past, what is just 
coming, though sensibly continuous with what is 
present, are partially infected with nonentity. 
After a while human apprehension can reach them 
only by inference, and to count upon them is 
frankly to rely on theory. The other side of the 
tree, which common sense affirms to exist uncon- 
ditionally, will have to be represented in memory 
or fancy; and it may never actually be observed 
by any mortal. Yet, if I continued my round, I 
should actually observe it and know it by experi- 
ence ; and I should find that it had the same status 
as the parts now seen, and was continuous with 
them. My assertion that it exists, while certainly 
theoretical and perhaps false, is accordingly scien- 
tific in type. Science, when it has no more scope 
than this, is indistinguishable from common sense. 
The two become distinct only when the facts in- 
ferred cannot be easily verified or have not yet 
been merged with the notion representing the 
given object in most men's minds. 

Where science remains consciously theoretical 
(being as yet contrasted with ordinary appercep- 
tion and current thought), it is, ideally consid- 
ered, a pis tiller, an expedient to which a mind 

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must have recourse when it lacks power and scope 
to hold all experience in hand and to view the wide 
world in its genuine immediacy. As oblives- 
cence is a gradual death, proper to a being not 
ideally master of the universal flux, but swamped 
within it, so science is an artificial life, in which 
what cannot be perceived directly (because per- 
sonal limitations forbid) may be regarded ab- 
stractly, yet efficaciously, in what we think and do. 
With better faculties the field of possible experi- 
ence could be better dominated, and fewer of its 
parts, being hidden from sight, would need to be 
mapped out symbolically on that sort of projec- 
tion which we call scientific inference. The real 
relations between the parts of nature would then 
be given in intuition, from which hypothesis, after 
all, has borrowed its schemata. 

Science is a half-way house between private 
sensation and universal vision. We should not 
its intellectual forget to add, however, that the uni- 
eoence. versal vision in question, if it were 

to be something better than private sensation or 
passive feeling in greater bulk, would have to be 
intellectual, just as science is; that is, it would 
have to be practical and to survey the flux from 
a given standpoint, in a perspective determined by 
special and local interests. Otherwise the whole 
world, when known, would merely be re-enacted 
in its blind immediacy without being understood 
or subjected to any purpose. The critics of sci- 
ence, when endowed with any speculative power, 

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have always seen that what is hypothetical .and 
abstract in scientific method is somehow servile 
and provisional; science being a sort of tele- 
graphic wire through which a meagre report 
reaches us of things we would fain observe and 
live through in their full reality. This report 
may suffice for approximately fit action; it does 
not suffice for ideal knowledge of the truth nor 
for adequate sympathy with the reality. What 
commonly escape* speculative critics of science, 
however, is that in transcending hypothesis and 
reaching immediacy again we should run a great 
risk of abandoning knowledge and sympathy 
altogether; for if we became what we now repre- 
sent so imperfectly, we should evidently no longer 
represent it at all. We should not, at the end of 
our labours, have at all enriched our own minds 
by adequate knowledge of what surrounds us, nor 
made our wills just in view of alien but well- 
considered interests. We should have lost our 
own essence and substituted for it, not something 
higher than indiscriminate being, but only indis- 
criminate being in its flat, blind, and selfish in- 
finity. The ideality, the representative faculty, 
would have gone out in our souls, and our per- 
fected humanity would have brought us back to 

In transcending science, therefore, we must not 
hope to transcend knowledge, nor in transcending 
selfishness to abolish finitude. Finitude is the 
indispensable condition of unselfishness as well as 

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of selfishness, and of speculative vision no less 
than of hypothetical knowledge. The defect of 
science is that it is inadequate or abstract, that 
the account it gives of things is not full and sensu- 
ous enough; but its merit is that, like sense, it 
makes external being present to a creature that is 
concerned in adjusting itself to its environment, 
and informs that creature about things other than 
itself. Science, if brought to perfection, would 
not lose its representative or ideal essence. It 
would still survey and inform, but it would survey 
everything at once and inform the being it en- 
lightened about all that could affect its interests. 
It would thus remain practical in effect and 
speculative in character. In losing its accidental 
limitations it would not lose its initial bias, its 
vital function. It would continue to be a ra- 
tional activity, guiding and perfecting a natural 

Perfect knowledge of things would be as far as 
possible from identifying the knower with them, 
seeing that for the most part— even when we call 
them human — they have no knowledge of them- 
selves. Science, accordingly, even when imper- 
fect, is 8 tremendous advance on absorption in 
sense and a dull immediacy. It begins to enrich 
the mind and gives it some inkling, at least, of 
that ideal dominion which each centre of experi- 
ence might have if it had learned to regard all 
others, and the relation connecting it with them, 
both in thought and in action. Ideal knowledge 

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would be an inward state corresponding to a per- 
fect adjustment of the body to all forces affecting 
it. If the adjustment was perfect the inward 
state would regard every detail in the objects en- 
visaged, but it would see those details in a per- 
spective of its own, adding to sympathetic repro- 
duction of them a consciousness of their relation 
to its own existence and perfection. 

The fact that science expresses the character 
and relation of objects in their own terms has a 
Unity of further important consequence, which 

science. serves again to distinguish science 

from metaphorical thinking. If a man tries to 
illustrate the nature of a thing by assimilating it 
to something else which he happens to have in 
mind at the same time, it is obvious that a sec- 
ond man, whose mind is differently furnished, 
may assimilate the same object to a quite different 
idea: so myths are centrifugal, and the more 
elaborate and delicate they are the more they 
diverge, like well-developed languages. The rude 
beginnings of myth in every age and country bear 
a certain resemblance, because the facts inter- 
preted are similar and the minds reading them 
have not yet developed their special grammar of 
representation. But two highly developed mythi- 
cal systems — two theologies, for instance, like the 
Greek and the Indian — will grow every day farther 
and farther apart. Science, on the contrary, what- 
ever it may start with, runs back into the same 
circle of facts, because it follows the lead of the 

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subject-matter, and is attentive to its inherent 

If men's fund of initial perceptions, then, is 
alike, their science is sure to be so; while the 
embroideries they make upon perception out of 
their own resources will differ as much as do 
the men themselves. Men asleep, said Heraclitus, 
live each in his own world, but awake they live 
in the same world together. To be awake is 
nothing but to be dreaming under control of the 
object; it is to be pursuing science to the com- 
parative exclusion of mere mental vegetation and 
spontaneous myth. Thus if our objects are the 
same, our science and our waking lives will coin- 
cide; or if there is a natural diversity in our dis- 
coveries, because we occupy different points in 
space and time and have a varying range of ex- 
perience, these diversities will nevertheless sup- 
plement one another; the discovery that each has 
made will be a possible discovery for the others 
also. So a geographer in China and one in Baby- 
lonia may at first make wholly unlike maps ; but 
in time both will take note of the Himalayas, and 
the side each approaches will slope up to the very 
crest approached by the other. So science is self- 
confirming, and its most disparate branches are 
mutually illuminating; while in the realm of 
myth, until it is surveyed scientifically, there can 
be nothing but mutual repulsion and incapacity 
to understand. Languages and religions are nec- 
essarily rivals, but sciences are necessarily allies. 

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The unity of science can reach no farther than 
does coherent experience; and though coherence 
in existence, be a condition of experience in the 
judged by re- more pregnant sense of the word — in 
is a margin of *h e sense in which the child or the 
w * 8te « fool has no experience— existence is 

absolutely free to bloom as it likes, and no logic 
can set limits or prescribe times for its irrespon- 
sible presence. A great deal may accordingly 
exist which cannot be known by science/ or be 
reached from the outside at all. This fact per- 
haps explains why science has as yet taken so lit- 
tle root in human life : for even within the limits 
of human existence, which are tolerably narrow, 
there is probably no little incoherence, no little 
lapsing into what, from any other point of view, 
is inconceivable and undiscoverable. Science, for 
instance, can hardly reach the catastrophes and 
delights, often so vivid, which occur in dreams; 
for even if a physiological psychology should some 
day be able to find the causes of these phenomena, 
and so to predict them, it would never enter the 
dream-world persuasively, in a way that the 
dreamer could appreciate and understand, while 
he continued to dream. This is because that 
dream-world and the waking world present two 
disjointed landscapes, and the figures they con- 
tain belong to quite different genealogies — like 
the families of Zeus and of Abraham. Science is 
a great disciplinarian, and misses much of the 
sport which the absolute is free to indulge in. If 

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there is no inner congruity and communion 
between two fields, science cannot survey them 
both; at best in tracing the structure of things 
presented in one of them, it may come upon some 
detail which may offer a basis or lodgment for the 
entire fabric of the other, which will thus be ex- 
plained ab extra; as the children of Abraham 
might give an explanation for Zeus and his prog- 
eny, treating them as a phenomenon in the be- 
nighted minds of some of Japhet's children. 

This brings the Olympian world within the pur- 
view of science, but does so with a very bad grace. 
For suppose the Olympian gods really existed — 
and there is nothing impossible in that supposi- 
tion — they would not be allowed to have any 
science of their own; or if they did, it would 
threaten the children of Abraham with the same 
imputed unreality with which the latter boast to 
have extinguished Olympus. In order, then, that 
two regions of existence should be amenable to 
a science common to both and establishing a mu- 
tual rational representation between them, it is 
requisite that the two regions should be congruous 
in texture and continuous inwardly: the objects 
present in each must be transformations of the 
objects present in the other. As this condition 
is not always fulfilled, even within a man's per- 
sonal fortunes, it is impossible that all he goes 
through should be mastered by science or should 
accrue to him ideally and become part of his 
funded experience. Much must be lost, left to 

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itself, and resigned to the unprofitable flux that 
produced it. 

A consequence of this incoherence in experi- 
ence is that science is not absolutely single but 
springs up in various places at once, 

Sciences con- . . . . . -■ -• 

verge from as a certain consistency or method 
different points becomes visible in this or that di- 
rection. These independent sciences 
might, conceivably, never meet at all; each 
might work out an entirely different aspect of 
things and cross the other, as it were, at a differ- 
ent level. This actually happens, for instance, 
in mathematics as compared with history or psy- 
chology, and in morals as compared with physics. 
Nevertheless, the fact that these various sciences 
are all human, and that here, for instance, we 
are able to mention them in one breath and to 
compare their natures, is proof that their spheres 
touch somehow, even if only peripherally. Since 
common knowledge, which knows of them all, is 
itself an incipient science, we may be sure that 
some continuity and some congruity obtains 
between their provinces. Some aspect of each 
must coincide with some aspect of some other, 
else nobody who pursued any one science would 
so much as suspect the existence of the rest. 
Great as may be the aversion of learned men to 
one another, and comprehensive as may be their 
ignorance, they are not positively compelled to 
live in solitary confinement, and the key of their 
prison cells is at least in their own pocket. 

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Some sciences, like chemistry and biology, or 
biology and anthropology, are parted only, we 
Two chief ma y presume, by accidental gaps in 
kinds of human knowledge; a more minute 

physics and an d better directed study of these 
dialectic, fields would doubtless disclose their 

continuity with the fields adjoining. But there 
is one general division in science which cuts 
almost to the roots of human experience. Hu- 
man understanding has used from the beginning 
a double method of surveying and arresting ideally 
the irreparable flux of being. One expedient has 
been to notice and identify similarities of char- 
acter, recurrent types, in the phenomena that pass 
before it or in its own operations; the other ex- 
pedient has been to note and combine in one com- 
plex object characters which occur and reappear 
together. The latter feat w hieh is made easy by 
the fact that when various senses are stimulated 
at once the inward instinctive reaction — which is 
felt by a primitive mind more powerfully than 
any external image — is one and not consciously 

The first expedient imposes on the flux what 
we call ideas, which are concretions in discourse, 
terms employed in thought and language. The 
second expedient separates the same flux into 
what we call things, which are concretions in ex- 
istence, complexes of qualities subsisting in space 
and time, having definable dynamic relations there 
and a traceable history. Carrying out this primi- 

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tive diversity in reflection science has moved in 
two different directions. By refining concretions 
in discourse it has attained to mathematics, logic, 
and the dialectical developments of ethics; by 
tracing concretions in existence it has reached the 
various natural and historical sciences. Follow- 
ing ancient usage, I shall take the liberty of call- 
ing the whole group of sciences which elaborates 
ideas dialectic, and the whole group that describes 
existences physics. 

The contrast between ideal science or dialectic 
and natural science or physics is as great as the 
understanding of a single experience could well 
afford; yet the two kinds of science are far from 
independent. They touch at their basis and they 
co-operate in their results. Were dialectic made 
clearer or physics deeper than it commonly is, 
these points of contact would doubtless be multi- 
plied; but even as they stand they furnish a suffi- 
cient illustration of the principle that all science 
develops objects in their own category and gives 
the mind dominion over the flux of matter by 
discovering its form. 

That physics and dialectic touch at their basis 
may be shown by a double analysis. In the first 
Thdr mutual place* it is clear that the science of 
implication, existence, like all science, is itself dis- 
course, and that before concretions in existence 
can be discovered, and groups of coexistent quali- 
ties can be recognised, these qualities themselves 
must be arrested by the mind, noted, and identi- 

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fied in their recurrences. But these terms, ban- 
died about in scientific discourse, are so many 
essences and pure ideas: so that the inmost tex- 
ture of natural science is logical, and the whole 
force of any observation made upon the outer 
world lies in the constancy and mutual relations 
of the terms it is made in. If down did not 
mean down and motion motion, Newton could 
never have taken note of the fall of his apple. 
Now the constancy and relation of meanings is 
something meant, it is something created by in- 
sight and intent and is altogether dialectical; so 
that the science of existence is a portion of the 
art of discourse. 

On the other hand discourse, in its operation, 
is a part of existence. That truth or logical 
cogency is not itself an existence can be proved 
dialectically,* and is obvious to any one who sees 

* For instance, in Plato's " Parmenides," where it is shown 
that the ideas are not in the mind. We may gather from what is 
there said that the ideas cannot be identified with any embodi- 
ment of them, however perfect, since an idea means a nature 
common to all its possible embodiments and remains always 
outside of them. This is what Plato meant by saying that the 
ideas lay apart from phenomena and were what they were in 
and for themselves. They were mere forms and not, as a 
materialised Platonism afterward fancied, images in the mind 
of some psychological deity. The gods doubtless know the 
ideas, as Plato tells us in the same place : these are the common 
object of their thought and of ours; hence they are not any- 
body's thinking process, which of course would be in flux and 
phenomenal. Only by being ideal (i. e., by being a goal of in- 
tellectual energy and no part of sensuous existence) can a term 
be common to various minds and serve to make their deliver- 
ances pertinent to one another. « 

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for a moment what truth means, especially if he 
remembers at the same time that all existence is 
mutable, which it is the essence of truth not to 
be. But the knowledge or discovery of truth is 
an event in time, an incident in the flux of ex- 
istence, and therefore a matter for natural sci- 
ence to study. 

Furthermore, every term which dialectic uses 
is originally given embodied; in other words, it 
is given as an element in the actual flux, it comes 
by illustration. Though meaning is the object of 
an ideal function, and signification is inwardly 
appreciable only in terms of signification, yet the 
ideal leap is made from a material datum: that 
in which signification is seen is a fact. Or to 
state the matter somewhat differently, truth is not 
self -generating; if it were it would be a falsehood. 

That truth is no existence might also be proved as follows: 
Suppose that nothing existed or (if critics carp at that phrase) 
that a universe did not exist. It would then be true that all 
> existences were wanting, yet this truth itself would endure; 
therefore truth is not an existence. An attempt might be 
made to reverse this argument by saying that since it would 
still "be" true that nothing existed, the supposition is self- 
contradictory, for the truth would " be " or exist in any case. 
Truth would thus be turned into an opinion, supposed to sub- 
sist eternally in the ether. The argument, however, is a bad 
sophism, because it falsifies the intent of the terms used. 
Somebody's opinion is not what is meant by the truth, since 
every opinion, however long-lived, may be false. Furthermore, 
the notion that it might have been true that nothing existed is 
a perfectly clear notion. The nature of dialectic is entirely cor- 
rupted when sincerity is lost. No intent can be self-contra- 
dictory, since it fixes its own object, but a man may easily con- 
tradict himself by wavering between one intent and another. 

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Its eternity, and the infinitude of propositions it 
contains, remain potential and unapproachable 
until their incidence is found in existence. Form 
cannot of itself decide which of all possible forms 
shall be real ; in their ideality, and without refer- 
ence to their illustration in things, all consistent 
propositions would be equally valid and equally 
trivial. Important truth is truth about some- 
thing, not truth about truth; and although a 
single datum might suffice to give foothold and 
pertinence to an infinity of truths, as one atom 
would posit all geometry, geometry, if there were 
no space, would be, if I may say so, all of the 
fourth dimension, and arithmetic, if there were 
no pulses or chasms in being, would be all algebra. 
Truth depends upon facts for its perspective, 
since facts select truths and decide which truths 
shall be mere possibilities and which shall be the 
eternal forms of actual things. The dialectical 
world would be a trackless desert if the existent 
world had no arbitrary constitution. Living dia- 
lectic comes to clarify existence; it turns into 
meanings the actual forms of things by reflecting 
upon them, and by making them intended sub- 
jects of discourse. 

Dialectic and physics, thus united at their 
basis, meet again in their results. In mechanical 
Their co- science, which is the best part of 
operation. physics, mathematics, which is the 
best part of dialectic, plays a predominant r81e; 
it furnishes the whole method of understanding 

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wherever there is any real understanding at all. 
In psychology and history, too, although dialectic 
is soon choked by the cross-currents of nature, it 
furnishes the little perspicuousness which there 
is. We understand actions and mental develop- 
ments when the purposes or ideas contained in 
any stage are carried out logically in the sequel; 
it is when conduct and growth are rational, that 
is, when they are dialectical, that we think we 
have found the true secret and significance of 
them. It is* the evident ideal of physics, in every 
department, to attain such an insight into causes 
that the effects actually given may be thence de- 
duced; and deduction is another name for dialec- 
tic. To be sure, the dialectic applicable to mate- 
rial processes and to human life is one in which 
the terms and the categories needed are still ex- 
ceedingly numerous and vague: a little logic is 
all that can be read into the cataract of events. 
But the hope of science, a hope which is sup- 
ported by every success it scores, is that a simpler 
law than has yet been discovered will be found 
to connect units subtler than those yet known; 
and that in these finer terms the universal mechan- 
ism may be exhaustively rendered. Mechanism 
is the ideal of physics, because it is the infusion 
of a maximum of mathematical necessity into the 
flux of real things. It is the aspiration of natural 
science to be as dialectical as possible, and thus, 
in their ideal, both branches of science are brought 

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That the ideal of dialectic is to apply to ex- 
istence and thereby to coincide with physics is in 
a sense no less true, although dialecticians may 
be little inclined to confess it. The direct pur- 
pose of deduction is to elucidate an idea, to de- 
velop an import, and nothing can be more irrel- 
evant in this science than whether the conclusion 
is verified in nature or not. But the direct pur- 
pose of dialectic is not its ultimate justification. 
Dialectic is a human pursuit and has, at bottom, 
a moral function; otherwise, at bottom, it would 
have no value. And the moral function and 
ultimate justification of dialectic is to further the 
Life of Reason, in which human thought has the 
maximum practical validity, and may enjoy in 
consequence the richest ideal development. If 
dialectic takes a turn which makes it inapplicable 
in physics, which makes it worthless for master- 
ing experience, it loses all its dignity : for abstract 
cogency has no dignity if the subject-matter into 
which it is introduced is trivial. In fact, were 
dialectic a game in which the counters were not 
actual data and the conclusions were not possible 
principles for understanding existence, it would 
not be a science at all. It would resemble a 
counterfeit paper currency, without intrinsic value 
and without commercial convenience. Just as a 
fact without implications is not a part of science, 
so a method without application would not be. 

The free excursions of dialectic into non-nat- 
ural regions may be wisely encouraged when they 

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satisfy an interest which is at bottom healthy and 
may, at least indirectly, bring with it excellent 
fruits. As musicians are an honour to society, 
so are dialecticians that have a single heart and 
an exquisite patience. But somehow the benefit 
must redound to society and to practical knowl- 
edge, or these abstracted hermits will seem at first 
useless and at last mad. The logic of nonsense 
has a subtle charm only because it can so easily 
be turned into the logic of common sense. Empty 
dialectic is, as it were, the ballet of science: it 
runs most neatly after nothing at all. 

Both physics and dialectic are contained in 
common knowledge, and when carried further 

no science a than men can 7 them ™- daily life, 
prion. these sciences remain essentially in- 

evitable and essentially fallible. If science de- 
serves respect, it is not for being oracular but for 
being useful and delightful, as seeing is. Under- 
standing is nothing but seeing under and seeing 
far. There is indeed a great mystery in knowl- 
edge, but this mystery is present in the simplest 
memory or presumption. The sciences have noth- 
ing to supply more fundamental than vulgar 
thinking or, as it were, preliminary to it. They 
are simply elaborations of it; they accept its pre- 
suppositions and carry on its ordinary processes. 
A pretence on the philosopher's part that he could 
get behind or below human thinking, that he could 
underpin, so to speak, his own childhood and the 
inherent conventions of daily thought, would be 

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pure imposture. A philosopher can of course in- 
vestigate the history of knowledge, he can analyse 
its method and point out its assumptions; but he 
cannot know by other authority than that which 
the vulgar know by, nor can his knowledge begin 
with other unheard-of objects or deploy itself in 
advance over an esoteric field. Every deeper in- 
vestigation presupposes ordinary perception and 
uses some at least of its data. Every possible dis- 
covery extends human knowledge. None can base 
human knowledge anew on a deeper foundation 
or prefix an ante-experimental episode to experi- 
ence. We may construct a theory as disinte- 
grating as we please about the dialectical or em- 
pirical conditions of the experience given; we may 
disclose its logical stratificatidn or physical ante- 
cedents; but every idea and principle used in such 
a theory must be borrowed from current knowl- 
edge as it happens to lie in the philosopher's mind. 
If these speculative adventures do not turn out 
well, the scientific man is free to turn about and 
R6ieof become the critic and satirist of his 

criticism. foiled ambitions. He may exhaust 
scepticism and withdraw into the citadel of im- 
mediate feeling, yielding bastion after bastion to 
the assaults of doubt. When he is at last per- 
fectly safe from error and reduced to speechless 
sensibility, he will perceive, however, that he is 
also washed clean of every practical belief: he 
would declare himself universally ignorant but 
for a doubt whether there be really anything to 

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know. This metaphysical exercise is simply one 
of those " fallings from us, vanishings, blank mis- 
givings of a creature moving about in worlds not 
realised " which may visit any child. So long as 
the suspension of judgment lasts, knowledge is 
surely not increased; but when we remember that 
the enemy to whom we have surrendered is but a 
ghost of our own evoking, we easily reoccupy the 
lost ground and fall back into an ordinary posture 
of belief and expectation. This recovered faith 
has no new evidences to rest on. We simply stand 
where we stood before we began to philosophise, 
only with a better knowledge of the lines we are 
holding and perhaps with less inclination to give 
them up again for no better reason than the un- 
doubted fact that, in a speculative sense, it is 
always possible to renounce them. 

Science, then, is the attentive consideration of 
common experience; it is common knowledge ex- 
tended and refined. Its validity is of the same 
order as that of ordinary perception, memory, and 
understanding. Its test is found, like theirs, in 
actual intuition, which sometimes consists in per- 
ception and sometimes in intent. The flight of 
science is merely longer from perception to per- 
ception, and its deduction more accurate of mean- 
ing from meaning and purpose from purpose. It 
generates in the mind, for each vulgar observa- 
tion, a whole brood of suggestions, hypotheses, 
and inferences. The sciences bestow, as is right 
and fitting, infinite pains upon that experience 

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which in their absence would drift by unchal- 
lenged or misunderstood. They take note, infer, 
and prophesy. They compare prophecy with 
event; and altogether they supply — so intent are 
they on reality — every imaginable background and 
extension for the present dream. 

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The least artificial extension of common knowl- 
edge is history. Personal recollection supplies 
Hlgto ^ many an anecdote, anecdotes collected 
artificial and freely commented upon make up 

memory. memoirs, and memoirs happily com- 

bined make not the least interesting sort of his- 
tory. When a man recalls any episode in his 
career, describes the men that flourished in his 
youth, or laments the changes that have since 
taken place, he is an informal historian. He 
would become one in a formal and technical sense 
if he supplemented and controlled his memory by 
ransacking papers, and taking elaborate pains to 
gather evidence on the events he wished to relate. 
This systematic investigation, especially when it 
goes back to first sources, widens the basis for 
imaginative reconstruction. It buttresses some- 
what the frail body of casual facts that in the 
first instance may have engaged an individual's 

History is nothing but assisted and recorded 
memory. It might almost be said to be no seience 
at all, if memory and faith in memory were not 

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what science necessarily rests on. In order to sift 
evidence we must rely on some witness, and we 
must trust experience before we proceed to expand 
it. The line betweeen what is known scientifi- 
cally and what has to be assumed in order to 
support that knowledge is impossible to draw. 
Memory itself is an internal rumour ; and when to 
this hearsay within the mind we add the falsified 
echoes that reach us from others, we have but a 
shifting and unseizable basis to build upon. The 
picture we frame of the past changes continually 
and grows every day less similar to the original 
experience which it purports to describe. 

It is true that memory sometimes, as in a vision, 
seems to raise the curtain upon the past and re- 

Second sight s * ;ore ** *° us * n ^ s P r * s tine reality, 
requires We may imagine at such moments 

control, jj^j. gxpgpience can ne yer really per- 

ish, but, though hidden by chance from the roving 
eye, endures eternally in some spiritual sphere. 
Such bodily recovery of the past, however, like 
other telepathic visions, can never prove its own 
truth. A lapse into by-gone perception, a sense 
of living the past over with all its vivid minutiae 
and trivial concomitants, might involve no true 
repetition of anything that had previously ex- 
isted. It might be a fresh experience altogether. 
The sense of knowing constitutes only a working 
presumption for experiment to start with; until 
corroboration comes that presumption can claim 
no respect from the outsider. 

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While memory remains a private presumption, 
therefore, it can be compared with nothing else 
that might test its veracity. Only when memory 
is expressed and, in the common field of expres- 
sion, finds itself corroborated by another mem- 
ory, does it rise somewhat in dignity and ap- 
proach scientific knowledge. Two presumptions, 
when they coincide, make a double assurance. 
While memory, then, is the basis of all historical 
knowledge, it is not called history until it enters • 
a field where it can be supported or corrected 
by evidence. This field is that natural world 
which all experiences, in so far as they are ra- 
tional, envisage together. Assertions relating to 
events in that world can corroborate 

Nature the 

theme com- or contradict one another — something 
mon to various that would be impossible if each 


memory, like the plot of a novel, 
moved in a sphere of its own. For memory to 
meet memory, the two must present objects 
which are similar or continuous: then they can 
corroborate or correct each other and help to 
fix the order of events as they really happened — 
that is, as they happened independently of what 
either memory may chance to represent. Thus 
even the most miraculous and direct recovery of 
the past needs corroboration if it is to be sys- 
tematically credited ; but to receive corroboration ^ 
it must refer to some event in nature, in that 
common world in space and time to which other 
memories and perceptions may refer also. In 

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becoming history, therefore, memory becomes a 
portion of natural science. Its assertions are 
such that any natural science may conceivably 
support or contradict them. 

Nature and its transformations, however, form 
too serried and complicated a system for our way- 
ward minds to dominate if left to their spon- 
taneous workings. Whatever is remembered or 
conceived is at first vaguely believed to have its 
place in the natural order, all myth and fable 
being originally localised within the confines of 
the material world and made to pass for a part of 
Growth of ear ty history. The method by which 
kgpaA* knowledge of the past is preserved is 

so subject to imaginative influence that it cannot 
avail to exclude from history anything that the 
imagination may supply. In the growth of leg- 
end a dramatic rhythm becomes more and more 
marked. What falls in with this rhythm is re- 
produced and accentuated whenever the train of 
memory is started anew. The absence of such 
cadences would leave a sensible gap— a gap which 
the momentum of ideation is quick to fill up with 
some appropriate image. Whatever, on the other 
hand, cannot be incorporated into the dominant 
round of fancies is consigned more and more to 

This consolidation of legend is not intentional. 
It is ingenuous and for the most part inevitable. 
When we muse about our own past we are con- 
scious of no effort to give it dramatic unity; on 

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the contrary, the excitement and interest of the 
process consist in seeming to discover the hidden 
eloquence and meaning of the events themselves. 
When a man of experience narrates the wonders 
he has seen, we listen with a certain awe, and 
believe in him for his miracles as we believe in 
our own memory for its arts. A bard's mechani- 
cal and ritualistic habits usually put all judg- 
ment on his own part to sleep ; while the sanctity 
attributed to the tale, as it becomes automatically 
more impressive, precludes tinkering with it in- 
tentionally. Especially the allegories and mar- 
vels with which early history is adorned are not 
ordinarily invented with malice prepense. They 
are rather discovered in the mind, like a found- 
ling, between night and morning. They are di- 
vinely vouchsafed. Each time the tale is retold 
it suffers a variation which is not challenged, 
since it is memory itself that has varied. The 
change is discoverable only if some record of 
the narrative in its former guise, or some physical 
memorial of the event related, survives to be 
confronted with the modified version. The modi- 
fied version itself can make no comparisons. It 
merely inherits the name and authority of its 
ancestor. The innocent poet believes his own 

Legends consequently acquire a considerable 
eloquence and dramatic force. These beauties 
accrue spontaneously, because rhythm and ideal 
pertinence, in which poetic merit largely lies, 

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are natural formative principles for speech and 
memory. As symmetry in material structures is 
a ground for strength, and hills by erosion are 
worn to pyramids, so it is in thoughts. Yet the 
stability attained is not absolute, but only such 
stability as the circumstances require. Dramatic 
effect is not everywhere achieved, nor is it missed 
by the narrator where it is wanting, so that even 
the oldest and best-pruned legends are full of 
irrelevant survivals, contradictions, and scraps of 
nonsense. These literary blemishes are like em- 
bedded fossils and tell of facts which the mech- 
anism of reproduction, for some casual reason, 
has not obliterated. The recorder of verbal tra- 
dition religiously sets down its inconsistencies 
and leaves in the transfigured chronicle many 
tell-tale incidents and remarks which, like 
atrophied organs in an animal body, reveal its 
gradual formation. Art and a deliberate pur- 
suit of unction or beauty would have thrown over 
this baggage. The automatic and pious minstrel 
carries it with him to the end. 

For these reasons there can be no serious his- 
tory until there are archives and preserved 
Nohiitory records, although sometimes a man 
without in a privileged position may compose 

documents. interesting essays on the events and 
persons of his own time, as his personal ex- 
perience has presented them to him. Archives 
and records, moreover, do not absolve a specu- 
lative historian from paying the same toll to the 



dramatic unities and making the same conces- 
sions to the laws of perspective which, in the 
absence of documents, turn tradition so soon 
into epic poetry. The principle that elicits his- 
tories out of records is the same that breeds 
legends out of remembered events. In both 
cases the facts are automatically foreshortened 
and made to cluster, as it were providentially, 
about a chosen interest. The historian's politics, 
philosophy, or romantic imagination furnishes a 
vital nucleus for reflection. All that falls within 
that particular vortex is included in the mental 
picture, the rest is passed over and tends to drop 
out of sight. It is not possible to say, nor to 
think, everything at once; and the private in- 
terest which guides a man in selecting his ma- 
terials imposes itself inevitably on the events he 
relates and especially on their grouping and sig- 

History is always written wrong, and so always 
needs to be rewritten. The conditions of ex- 
pression and even of memory dragoon the facts 
and put a false front on diffuse experience. What 
is interesting is brought forward as if it had 
been central and efficacious in the march of 
events, and harmonies are turned into causes. 
Kings and generals are endowed with motives 
appropriate to what the historian values in their 
actions; plans are imputed to them prophetic of 
their actual achievements, while the thoughts 
that really preoccupied them remain buried in 

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absolute oblivion. Such falsification is inevitable, 
and an honest historian is guilty of it only 
against his will. He would wish, as he loves the 
truth, to see and to render it entire. But the 
limits of his book and of his knowledge force 
him to be partial. It is only a very great mind, 
seasoned by large wisdom, that can lend such an 
accent and such a carrying-power to a few facts 
as to make them representative of all reality. 

Some historians, indeed, are so frankly parti- 
san or cynical that they avowedly write history 
The aim is ^th a view to effect, either politi- 
frutk cal or literary. Moralising historians 

belong to this school, as well as those philoso- 
phers who worship evolution. They sketch every 
situation with malice and twist it, as if it were 
an argument, to bring out a point, much as fash- 
ionable portrait-painters sometimes surcharge the 
characteristic, in order to make a bold effect at 
a minimum expense of time and devotion. And 
yet the truly memorable aspect of a man is that 
which he wears in the sunlight of common day, 
with all his generic humanity upon him. His 
most interesting phase is not that which he might 
assume under the lime-light of satirical or liter- 
ary comparisons. The characteristic is after all 
the inessential. It marks a peripheral variation 
in the honest and sturdy lump. To catch only 
the heartless shimmer of individuality is to paint 
a costume without the body that supports it. 
Therefore a broad and noble historian sets down 

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all within his apperception. His literary in- 
terests are forgotten; he is wholly devoted to ex- 
pressing the passions of the dead. His ideal, 
emanating from his function and chosen for no 
extraneous reason, is to make his heroes think 
and act as they really thought and acted in the 

Nevertheless the opposite happens, sometimes 
to a marked and even scandalous degree. As 
legend becomes in a few generations preposterous 
myth, so history, after a few rehandlings, and 
condensations, becomes unblushing theory. Now 
theory — when we use the word for a schema of 
things' relations and not for contemplation of 
them in their detail and fulness — is an expedient 
to cover ignorance and remedy confusion. The 
function of history, if it could be thoroughly ful- f 
filled, would be to render theory unnecessary. 
Did we possess a record of all geological changes 
since the creation we should need no geological 
theory to suggest to us what those changes must 
have been. Hypothesis is like the rule of three: 
it comes into play only when one of the terms .. 
is unknown and needs to be inferred from those 
which are given. The ideal historian, since he 
would know all the facts, would need no hypoth- 
eses, and since he would imagine and hold all 
events together in their actual juxtapositions he 
would need no classifications. The intentions, 
acts, and antecedents of every mortal would be 
seen in their precise places, with no imputed 

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qualities or scope; and when those intentions had 
been in fact fulfilled, the fulfilments too would 
occupy their modest position in the rank and 
file of marching existence. To omniscience the 
idea of cause and effect would be unthinkable. 
If all things were perceived together and co- 
existed for thought, as they actually flow through 
being, on one flat phenomenal level, what sense 
would there be in saying that one element had 
compelled another to appear? The relation of 
cause is an instrument necessary to thought 
only when thought is guided by presumption. 
We say, " If this thing had happened, that other 
thing would have followed " — a hypothesis which 
would lapse and become unmeaning had we al- 
ways known all the facts. For no supposition 
contrary to fact would then have entered dis- 

This ideal of direct omniscience is, however, 
impossible to attain; not merely accidental frail- 
indirect ** es > ^ut the very nature of things 
methods of stands in the way. Experience can- 
attaining t no j. ^ gus p en ^ e( j or sustained in 

being, because its very nucleus is mobile and in 
shifting cannot retain its past phases bodily, but 
only at best some trace or representation of 
them. Memory itself is an expedient by which 
what is hopelessly lost in its totality may at least 
be partly kept in its beautv or significance; and 
experience can be enlarged in no other way than 
by carrying into the moving present the lesson 

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and transmitted habit of much that is past. His- 
tory is naturally reduced to similar indirect 
methods of recovering what has lapsed. The his- 
torian's object may be to bring the past again 
before the mind in all its living reality, but in 
pursuing that object he is obliged to appeal to 
inference, to generalisation, and to dramatic 
fancy. We may conveniently distinguish in his- 
tory, as it is perforce written by men, three dis- 
tinct elements, which we may call historical < 
investigation, historical theory, and historical 

Historical investigation is the natural science 
of the past. The circumstance that its docu- 
ments are usually literary may some- 
research a what disguise the physical character 
partof and the physical principles of this 

p *"" science; but when a man wishes to 

discover what really happened at a given mo- 
ment, even if the event were somebody's thought, 
he has to read his sources, not for what they 
say, but for what they imply. In other words, 
the witnesses cannot be allowed merely to speak 
for themselves, after the gossiping fashion 
familiar in Herodotus; their testimony has to be 
interpreted according to the laws of evidence. 
The past needs to be reconstructed out of reports, 
as in geology or archaeology it needs to be recon- 
structed out of stratifications and ruins. A 
man's memory or the report .in a newspaper is 
a fact justifying certain inferences about its 

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probable causes according to laws which such 
phenomena betray in the present when they are 
closely scrutinised. This reconstruction is often 
very difficult, and sometimes all that can be 
established in the end is merely that the tradition 
before us is certainly false; somewhat as a per- 
plexed geologist might venture on no conclusion 
except that the state of the earth's crust was 
once very different from what it is now. 

A natural science dealing with the past labours 
under the disadvantage of not being able to ap- 
Verification P^ *° experiment. The facts it 
hen indirect terminates upon cannot be recov- 
ered, so that they may verify in sense the hypoth- 
esis that had inferred them. The hypothesis can 
be tested only by current events; it is then turned 
back upon the past, to give assurance of facts 
which themselves are hypothetical and remain 
hanging, as it were, to the loose end of the 
hypothesis itself. A hypothetical fact is a most 
dangerous creature, since it lives on the credit 
of a theory which in turn would be bankrupt if 
the fact should fail. Inferred past facts are more 
deceptive than facts prophesied, because while the 
risk of error in the inference is the same, there 
is no possibility of discovering that error; and 
the historian, while really as speculative as the 
prophet, can never be found out. 

Most facts known to man, however, are 
reached by inference, and their reality may be 
wisely assumed so long as the principle by which 

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they are inferred, when it is applied in the pres- 
ent, finds complete and constant verification. 
Presumptions involved in memory and tradition 
give the first hypothetical facts we count upon; 
the relations which these first facts betray supply 
the laws by which facts are to be concatenated; 
and these laws may then be used to pass from 
the first hypothetical facts to hypothetical facts 
of a second order, forming a background and 
congruous extension to those originally assumed. 
This expansion of discursive science can go on 
for ever, unless indeed the principles of inference 
employed in it involve some present existence, 
such as a skeleton in a given tomb, which direct 
experience fails to verify. Then the theory itself 
is disproved and the whole galaxy of hypothetical 
facts which clustered about it forfeit their 

Historical investigation has for its aim to fix 
the order and character of events throughout 

Futile ideal P as * ^ me ^ a ^ places- The task is 
to survey an frankly superhuman, because no lilock 
facts. Q £ rea 2 ex j s t ence ^ ^th its infinitesi- 

mal detail, can be recorded, nor if somehow 
recorded could it be dominated by the mind; and 
to carry on a survey of this social continuum ad 
infinitum would multiply the difficulty. The task 
might also be called infrahuman, because the sort 
of omniscience which such complete historical 
science would achieve would merely furnish mate- 
rials for intelligence; it would be inferior to intel- 

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ligence itself. There are many things which, as 
Aristotle says, it is better not to know than to 
know — namely, those things which do not count 
in controlling the mind's fortunes nor enter into 
its ideal expression. Such is the whole flux of 
immediate experience in other minds or in one's 
own past; and just as it is better to forget than 
to remember a nightmare or the by-gone sensa- 
tions of sea-sickness, so it is better not to conceive 
the sensuous pulp of alien experience, something 
infinite in amount and insignificant in character. 

An attempt to rehearse the inner life of every- 
body that has ever lived would be no rational 
endeavour. Instead of lifting the historian above 
the world and making him the most consummate 
of creatures, it would flatten his mind out into 
a passive after-image of diffuse existence, with 
all its horrible blindness, strain, and monotony. 
Beason is not come to repeat the universe but to 
fulfil it. Besides, a complete survey of events 
would perforce register all changes that have 
taken place in matter since time began, the fields 
of geology, astronomy, palaeontology, and archae- 
ology being all, in a sense, included in history. 
Such learning would dissolve thought in a vertigo, 
if it had not already perished of boredom. His- 
torical research is accordingly a servile science 
which may enter the Life of Eeason to perform 
there some incidental service, but which ought to 
lapse as soon as that service is performed. 

The profit of studying history lies in some- 

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thing else than in a dead knowledge of what hap- 
pens to have happened. A seductive alternative 
might be to say that the profit of it lies in under- 
standing what has happened, in perceiving the 
principles and laws that govern social evolution, 
or the meaning which events have. We are hereby 
launched upon a region of physico-ethical specu- 
lation where any man with a genius for quick 
generalisation can swim at ease. To find the one 
Historical great cause why Eome fell, especially 
theory. if no one has ever thought of it 

before, or to expound the true import of the 
French Eevolution, or to formulate in limpid sen- 
tences the essence of Greek culture — what could 
be more tempting or more purely literary? It 
would ill become the author of this book to decry 
allegorical expressions, or a cavalierlike fashion 
of dismissing whole periods and tendencies with a 
verbal antithesis. We must have exercises in ap- 
perception, a work of imagination must be taken 
imaginatively, and a landscape painter must be 
suffered to be, at his own risk, as impressionistic 
as he will. If Raphael, when he was designing 
the School of Athens, had said to himself that 
Aristotle should point down to a fact and Plato 
up to a meaning, or when designing the Disputa 
had conceived that the proudest of intellects, 
weary of argument and learning, should throw 
down his books and turn to revelation for guid- 
ance, there would have been much historical per- 
tinence in those conceptions; yet the figures would 

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have been allegorical, contracting into a decorative 
design events that had been dispersed through 
centuries and emotions "that had only cropped up 
here and there, with all manner of variations and 
alloys, when the particular natural situation had 
made them inevitable. So the Renaissance might 
be spoken of as a person and the Reformation as 
her step-sister, and something might be added 
about the troubles of their home life ; but would it 
be needful in that case to enter a warning that 
these units were verbal merely, and that the phe- 
nomena and the forces really at work had been 
multitudinous and infinitesimal? 

In fine, historical terms mark merely rhetorical 
unities, which have no dynamic cohesion, and there 
are no historical laws which are not 
at bottom physical, like the laws of 
habit — those expressions of Newton's first law of 
motion. An essayist may play with historical 
apperception as long as he will and always find 
something new to say, discovering the ideal nerve 
and issue of a movement in a different aspect of 
the facts. The truly proportionate, constant, 
efficacious relations between things will remain 
material. Physical causes traverse the moral 
units at which history stops, determining their 
force and duration, and the order, so irrelevant 
to intent, in which they succeed one another. 
Even the single man's life and character have sub- 
terranean sources; how should the outer expres- 
sion and influence of that character have sources 

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more superficial than its own? Yet we cannot 
trace mechanical necessity down to the more stable 
units composing a personal mechanism, and much 
less, therefore, to those composing a complex 
social evolution. We accordingly translate the 
necessity, obviously lurking under life's common- 
place yet unaccountable shocks, into verbal prin- 
ciples, names for general impressive results, that 
play some r61e in our ideal philosophy. Each of 
these idols of the theatre is visible only on a single 
stage and to duly predisposed spectators. The 
next passion affected will throw a differently col- 
oured calcium light on the same pageant, and 
there will be no end of rival evolutions and in- 
compatible ideal principles crossing one another 
at every interesting event. 

Such a manipulation of history, when made 
by persons who underestimate their imaginative 
powers, ends in asserting that events have directed 
themselves prophetically upon the interests which 
they arouse. Apart from the magic involved and 
the mockery of all science, there is a difficulty here 
which even a dramatic idealist ought to feel. The 
interests affected are themselves many and con- 
trary. If history is to be understood ideologi- 
cally, which of all the possible ends it might be 
pursuing shall we think really endowed with re- 
gressive influence and responsible for the move- 
ment that is going to realise it? Did Columbus, 
for instance, discover America so that George 
Washington might exist and that some day foot- 

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ball and the Church of England may prevail 
throughout the world? Or was it (as has been 
seriously maintained) in order that the converted 
Indians of South America might console Saint 
Peter for the defection of the British and Ger- 
mans? Or was America, as Hegel believed, 
ideally superfluous, the absolute having become 
self-conscious enough already in Prussia? Or 
shall we say that the real goal is at an infinite 
distance and unimaginable by us, and useless, 
therefore, for understanding anything? 

In truth, whatever plausibility the providential 
view of a given occurrence may have is dependent 
on the curious limitation and selfishness of the 
observer's estimations. Sheep are providentially 
designed for men; but why not also for wolves, 
and men for worms and microbes? If the his- 
torian is willing to accept such a suggestion, and 
to become a blind worshipper of success, applaud- 
ing every issue, however lamentable for human- 
ity, and calling it admirable tragedy, he may 
seem for a while to save his theory by making it 
mystical; yet presently this last illusion will be 
dissipated when he loses his way in the maze and 
finds that all victors perish in their turn and 
everything, if you look far enough, falls back into 
the inexorable vortex. This is the sort of obser- 
vation that the Indian sages made long ago; it 
is what renders their philosophy, for all its prac- 
tical impotence, such an irrefragable record of ex- 
perience, such a superior, definitive perception of 

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the flux. Beside it, our progresses of two cen- 
turies and our philosophies of history, embracing 
one-quarter of the earth for three thousand years, 
seem puerile vistas indeed. Shall all eternity and 
all existence be for the sake of what is happen- 
ing here to-day, and to me? Shall we strive 
manfully to the top of this particular wave, on 
the ground that its foam is the culmination of all 
things for ever? 

There is a sense, of course, in which definite 
political plans and moral aspirations may well be 
fulfilled by events. Our ancestors, sharing and 
anticipating our natures, may have had in many 
respects our actual interests in view, as we may 
have those of posterity. Such ideal co-operation 
extends far, where primary interests are con- 
cerned; it is rarer and more qualified where a fine 
and fragile organisation is required to support the 
common spiritual life. Even in these cases, the 
aim pursued and attained is not the force that 
operates, since the result achieved had many other 
conditions besides the worker's intent, and that 
intent itself had causes which it knew nothing of. 
Every "historical force " pompously appealed to 
breaks up on inspection into a cataract of miscel- 
laneous natural processes and minute particular 
causes. It breaks into its mechanical constitu- 
ents and proves to have been nothing but an effet 
d' ensemble produced on a mind whose habits and 
categories are essentially rhetorical. 

This sort of false history or philosophy of his- 

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tory might be purified, like bo many other things, 
by self-knowledge. If the philosopher in review- 
ing events confessed that he was scru- 

A moral 

critique of tinising them in order to abstract 
the past is from them whatever tended to illus- 
^^ * trate his own ideals, as he might 

look over a crowd to find his friends, the opera- 
tion would become a perfectly legitimate one. 
The events themselves would be left for scientific 
inference to discover, where credible reports did 
not testify to them directly; and the causes of 
events would be left to some theory of natural 
evolution, to be stated, according to the degree of 
knowledge attained, in terms more and more exact 
and mechanical. In the presence of the past so 
defined imagination and will, however, would not 
abdicate their rights, and a sort of retrospective 
politics, an estimate of events in reference to the 
moral ideal which they embodied or betrayed, 
might supervene upon positive history. This 
estimate of evolution might well be called a phil- 
osophy of history, since it would be a higher 
operation performed on the results of natural sci- 
ence, to give a needful basis and illustration to 
the ideal. The present work is an essay in that 

The ideal which in such a review would serve 
as the touchstone for estimation, if it were an 
Howitmteht enlightened ideal, would recognise its 
be just. own natural basis, and therefore 

would also recognise that under other conditions 

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other ideals, no less legitimate, may have arisen 
and may have been made the standard for a dif- 
ferent judgment on the world. Historical inves- 
tigation, were its resources adequate, would reveal 
to us what these various ideals have been. Every 
animal has his own, and whenever individuals or 
nations have become reflective they have known 
how to give articulate expression to theirs. That 
all these ideals could not have been realised in 
turn or together is an immense misfortune, the 
irremediable half-tragedy of life, by which we also 
suffer. In estimating the measure of success 
achieved anywhere a. liberal historian, who does 
not wish to be bluntly irrational, will of course 
estimate it from all these points of view, consid- 
ering all real interests affected, in so far as he can 
appreciate them. This is what is meant by put- 
ting the standard of value, not in some arbitrary 
personal dogma but in a variegated omnipresent 

It is by no means requisite, therefore, in dis- 
entangling the Life of Reason, to foresee what 
ultimate form the good might some day take, 
much less to make the purposes of the philosopher 
himself, his time, or his nation the test of all 
excellence. This test is the perpetual concomitant 
ideal of the life it is applied to. As all could not 
be well in the world if my own purposes were de- 
feated, so the general excellence of things would be 
heightened if other men's purposes also had been 
fulfilled. Each will is a true centre for universal 

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estimation. As each will, therefore, comes to ex- 
pression, real and irreversible values are intro- 
duced into the world, and the historian, in esti- 
mating what has been hitherto achieved, needs to 
make himself the spokesman for all past aspira- 

If the Egyptian poets sang well, though that 
conduces not at all to our advantage, and though 
all those songs are now dumb, the Life of Sea- 
son was thereby increased once for all in pith 
and volume. Brief erratic experiments made in 
living, if they were somewhat successful in their 
day, remain successes always : and this is the only 
kind of success that in the end can be achieved at 
all. The philosopher that looks for what is good 
in history and measures the past by the scale of 
reason need be no impertinent dogmatist on that 
account. Season would not be reason but passion 
if it did not make all passions in all creatures 
constituents of its own authority. The judg- 
ments it passes on existence are only the judg- 
ments which existence, so far, has passed on itself, 
and these are indelible and have their proportion- 
ate weight though others of many different types 
may surround or succeed them. 

To inquire what everybody has thought about 
the world, and into what strange shapes every 
passionate dream would fain have transformed ex- 
istence, might be merely a part of historical inves- 
tigation. These facts of preference and estima- 
tion might be made to stand side by side with all 

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other facts in that absolute physical order which 
the universe must somehow possess. In the ref- 
erence book of science they would all find their 
page and line. But it is not for the sake of 
making vain knowledge complete that historians 

Transition to are a P* *° l* 11 ^ 3 * over heroic episodes 
historical and commanding characters in the 
romance, world's annals. It is not even in the 
hope of discovering just to what extent and in 
how many directions experience has been a trag- 
edy. The mathematical balance of failure and 
success, even if it could be drawn with accuracy, 
would not be a truth of moral importance, since 
whatever that balance might be for the world at 
large, success and benefit here, from the living 
point of view, would be equally valid and delight- 
ful; and however good or however bad the uni- 
verse may be it is always worth while to make it 

What engages the historian in the reconstruc- Q 
tion of moral life, such as the past contained, 
is that he finds in that life many an illustration 
of his own ideals, or even a necessary stimulus in " 
defining what his ideals are. Where his admira- 
tion and his sympathy are awakened, he sees noble 
aims and great achievements, worthy of being 
minutely studied and brought vividly before later 
generations. Very probably he will be led by 
moral affinities with certain phases of the past to 
attribute to those phases, in their abstraction and 
by virtue of their moral dignity, a material effi- 

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cacy which they did not really have; and his in- 
terest in history's moral will make him turn his- 
tory itself into a fable. This abuse may be 
abated, however, by having recourse to impartial 
historical investigation, that will restore to the 
hero all his circumstantial impotence, and to the 
glorious event all its insignificant causes. Cer- 
tain men and certain episodes will retain, not- 
withstanding, their intrinsic nobility; and the his- 
torian, who is often a politician and a poet rather 
than a man of science, will dwell on those noble 
things so as to quicken his own sense for great- 
ness and to burnish in his soul ideals that may 
have remained obscure for want of scrutiny or 
may have been tarnished by too much contact with 
a sordid world. 

History so conceived has the function of epic or 
dramatic poetry. The moral life represented may 
Possibility of actually have been lived through; 
genuine epics, but that circumstance is incidental 
merely and what makes the story worth telling is 
its pertinence to the political or emotional life 
of the present. To revive past moral experience 
is indeed wellnigh impossible unless the living 
will can still covet or dread the same issues; his- 
torical romance cannot be truthful or interesting 
when profound changes have taken place in human 
nature. The reported acts and sentiments of 
early peoples lose their tragic dignity in our eyes 
when they lose their pertinence to our own aims. 
So that a recital of history with an eye to its 

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dramatic values is possible only when that history 
is, so to speak, our own, or when we assimilate it 
to ours by poetic license. 

The various functions of history have been 
generally carried on simultaneously and with lit- 
tle consciousness of their profound diversity. 
Since historical criticism made its appearance, 
the romantic interest in the past, far from abating, 
has fed eagerly on all the material incidents and 
private gossip of remote times. This sort of petty 
historical drama has reflected contemporary inter- 
ests, which have centred so largely in material 
possessions and personal careers; while at the 
same time it has kept pace with the knowl- 
edge of minutiae attained by archaeology. When 
historical investigation has reached its limits a 
period of ideal reconstruction may very likely set 
in. Indeed were it possible to collect in archives 
exhaustive accounts of everything that has ever 
happened, so that the curious man might always 
be informed on any point of fact that interested 
him, historical imagination might grow free again 
in its movements. Not being suspected of wish- 
ing to distort facts which could so easily be 
pointed to, it might become more conscious of its 
own moral function, and it might turn unblush- 
ingly to what was important and inspiring in 
order to put it with dramatic force before the 
mind. Such a treatment of history would rein- 
state that epic and tragic poetry which has become 
obsolete; it might well be written in verse, and 

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would at any rate be frankly imaginative; it 
might furnish a sort of ritual, with scientific and 
political sanctions, for public feasts. Tragedies 
and epics are such only in name if they do not 
deal with the highest interests and destinies of a 
people; and they could hardly deal with such 
ideals in an authoritative and definite way, unless 
they found them illustrated in that people's tra- 

Historic romance is a work of art, not of sci- 
ence, and its fidelity to past fact is only an expedi- 
iiterai truth en *> often an excellent and easy one, 
abandoned, for striking the key-note of present 
ideals. The insight attained, even when it is true 
insight into what some one else felt in some other 
age, draws its force and sublimity from current 
passions, passions potential in the auditor's soul. 
Mary Queen of Scots, for instance, doubtless re- 
peated, in many a fancied dialogue with Queen 
Elizabeth, the very words that Schiller puts into 
her mouth in the central scene of his play, " Denn 
ich bin Euer Konig!" Yet the dramatic force 
of that expression, its audacious substitution of 
ideals for facts, depends entirely on the scope 
which we lend it. Different actors and different 
readers would interpret it differently. Some 
might see in it nothing but a sally in a woman's 
quarrel, reading it with the accent of mere spite 
and irritation. Then the tragedy, not perhaps 
without historic truth, would be reduced to a loud 
comedy. Other interpreters might find in the 

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phrase the whole feudal system, all the chivalry, 
legality, and foolishness of the Middle Ages. 
Then the drama would become more interesting, 
and the poor queen's cry, while that of a mind 
sophisticated and fanatical, would have great 
pathos and keenness. To reach sublimity, how- 
ever, that moment would have to epitomise ideals 
which we deeply respected. We should have to 
believe in the sanctity of canon law and in the 
divine right of primogeniture. That a woman 
may have been very unhappy or that a state may 
have been held together by personal allegiance 
does not raise the fate of either to the tragic plane, 
unless "laws that are not of to-day nor yester- 
day," aspirations native to the heart, shine 
through those legendary misfortunes. 

It would matter nothing to the excellence of 
Schiller's drama which of these interpretations 
might have been made by Mary Stuart herself at 
any given moment; doubtless her attitude toward 
her rival was coloured on different occasions by 
varying degrees of political insight and moral 
fervour. The successful historical poet would be 
he who caught the most significant attitude which 
a person in that position could possibly have as- 
sumed, and his Mary Stuart, whether accidentally 
resembling the real woman or not, would be es- 
sentially a mythical person. So Electra and 
Antigone and Helen of Troy are tragic figures 
absolved from historical accuracy, although pos- 
sibly if the personages of heroic times were known 

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to us we might find that our highest imagination 
had been anticipated in their consciousness. 

Of the three parts into which the pursuit of 
history may be divided — investigation, theory, and 
Histo ex- story-telling— not one attains ideal 
iststobe finality. Investigation is merely use- 
transcended. ful ^ because its intrinsic ideal— to 
know every detail of everything — is not rational, 
and its acceptable function can only be to offer 
accurate information upon such points iis are 
worth knowing for some ulterior reason. His- 
torical theory, in turn, is a falsification of causes, 
since no causes are other than mechanical; it is 
an arbitrary foreshortening of physics, and it dis- 
solves in the presence either of adequate knowl- 
edge or of clear ideals. Finally, historical ro- 
mance passes, as it grows mature, into epics and 
tragedies, where the moral imagination disengages 
itself from all allegiance to particular past facts. 
Thus history proves to be an imperfect field for 
the exercise of reason; it is a provisional disci- 
pline; its values, with the mind's progress, would 
empty into higher activities. The function of his- 
tory is to lend materials to politics and to poetry. 
These arts need to dominate past events, the bet- 
ter to dominate the present situation and the ideal 
one. A good book of history is one that helps the 
statesman to formulate and to carry out his plans, 
or that helps the tragic poet to conceive what is* 
most glorious in human destiny. Such a book, as 
knowledge and ignorance are now mingled, will 

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have to borrow something from each of the 
methods by which history is commonly pursued. 
Investigation will be necessary, since the needful 
facts are not all indubitably known; theory will 
be necessary too, so that those facts may be con- 
ceived in their pertinence to public interests, and 
the latter may thereby be clarified; and romance 
will not be wholly excluded, because the various 
activities of the mind about the same matter can- 
not be divided altogether, and a dramatic treat- 
ment is often useful in summarising a situation, 
when all the elements of it cannot be summoned 
up in detail before the mind. 

Fragmentary, arbitrary, and insecure as his- 
torical conceptions must remain, they are never- 
its great theless highly important. In human 

*M e - consciousness the indispensable is in 

inverse ratio to the demonstrable. Sense is the 
foundation of everything. Without sense memory 
would be both false and useless. Yet memory 
rather than sense is knowledge in the pregnant 
acceptation of the word; for in sense object and 
process are hardly distinguished, whereas in 
memory significance inheres in the datum, and 
the present vouches for the absent. Similarly 
history, which is derived from memory, is superior 
to it; for while it merely extends memory artifi- 
cially it shows a higher logical development than 
memory has and is riper for ideal uses. Trivial 
and useless matter has dropped out. Inference 
has gone a step farther, thought is more largely 

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representative, and testimony conveyed by the 
reports of others or found in monuments leads 
the speculative mind to infer events that must 
have filled the remotest ages. This information 
is not passive or idle knowledge; it truly informs 
or shapes the mind, giving it new aptitudes. As 
an efficacious memory modifies instinct, by level- 
ling it with a wider survey of the situation, so a 
memory of what human experience has been, a 
sense of what it is likely to be under specific cir- 
cumstances, gives the will a new basis. What 
politics or any large drama deals with is a will 
cast into historic moulds, an imagination busy 
with what we call great interests. Great inter- 
ests are a gift which history makes to the heart. 
A barbarian is no less subject to the past than is 
the civic man who knows what his past is and 
means to be loyal to it; but the barbarian, for 
want of a trans-personal memory, crawls among 
superstitions which he cannot understand or re- 
voke and among persons whom he may hate or 
love, but whom he can never think of raising to a 
higher plane, to the level of a purer happiness. 
The whole dignity of human endeavour is thus 
bound up with historic issues; and as conscience 
needs to be controlled by experience if it is to 
become rational, so personal experience itself 
needs to be enlarged ideally if the failures and suc- 
cesses it reports are to touch impersonal interests. 

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A retrospect over human experience, if a little 
extended, can hardly fail to come upon many 
Reciffrent interesting recurrences. The seasons 
forms in make their round and the generations 

nature. £ men ^ \fc e the forest leaves, re- 

peat their career. In this its finer texture history 
undoubtedly repeats itself. A study of it, in reg- 
istering so many recurrences, leads to a descrip- 
tion of habit, or to natural history. To observe ""I 
a recurrence is to divine a mechanism. It is to 
analyse a phenomenon, distinguishing its form, 
which alone recurs, from its existence, which is 
irrevocable; and that the flux of phenomena 
should turn out, on closer inspection, to be com- 
posed of a multitude of recurring forms, regularly 
interwoven, is the ideal of mechanism. The forms, . 
taken ideally and in themselves, are what reflec- 
tion first rescues from the flux and makes a sci- 
ence of; they constitute that world of eternal 
relations with which dialectic is conversant. To 
note here and there some passing illustration of 
these forms is one way of studying experience. 
The observer, the poet, the historian merely define 

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what they see. But these incidental illustrations 
of form (called by Plato phenomena) may have 
a method in their comings and goings, and this 
method may in turn be definable. It will be a 
new sort of constant illustrated in the flux; and 
this we call a law. If events could be reduced to 
a number of constant forms moving in a constant 
medium according to a constant law, a maximum 
of constancy would be introduced into the flux, 
which would thereby be proved to be mechanical. 

The form of events, abstracted from their ma- 
terial presence, becomes a general mould to which 
we tend to assimilate new observations. What- 
ever in particular instances may contravene the 
accredited rule, we attribute without a qualm to 
unknown variations in the circumstances, thus 
saving our faith in order at all hazards and appeal- 
ing to investigation to justify the same. Only 
when another rule suggests itself which leaves a 
smaller margin unaccounted for in the phenomena 
do we give up our first generalisation. Not even 
the rudest superstition can be criticised or dis- 
lodged scientifically save by another general rule, 
more exact and trustworthy than the superstition. 
The scepticism which comes from distrust of ab- 
straction and disgust with reckoning of any sort 
is not a scientific force; it is an intellectual 

Generalities are indeed essential to understand- 
ing, which is apt to impose them hastily upon 
particulars. Confirmation is not needed to create 

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prejudice. It suffices that a vivid impression 
should once have cut its way into the mind and 
s^tled there in a fertile soil ; it will entwine itself 
at once with its chance neighbours and these ad- 
ventitious relations will pass henceforth for a part 
of the fact. Kepetition, however, is a good means 
of making or keeping impressions vivid and almost 
the only means of keeping them unchanged. 
Prejudices, however refractory to new evidence, 
evolve inwardly of themselves. The mental soil 
in which they lie is in a continual ferment and 
their very vitality will extend their scope and 
change their application. Generalisations, there- 
fore, when based on a single instance, will soon 
forget it and shift their ground, as unchecked 
words shift their meaning. But when a phe- 
nomenon actually recurs the generalisations 
founded on it are reinforced and kept identical, 
and prejudices so sustained by events make man's 
knowledge of nature. 

Natural science consists of general ideas which 
look for verification in events, and which find it. 
The particular instance, once noted, is 
wwy makes thrown asi< * e like a squeezed orange, 
the flux its significance in establishing some 

law having once been extracted. Sci- 
ence, by this flight into the general, lends imme- 
diate experience an interest and scope which its 
parts, taken blindly, could never possess; since if 
we remained sunk in the moments of existence and 
never abstracted their character from their pres- 

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ence, we should never know that they had any re- 
lation to one another. We should feel their in- 
cubus without being able to distinguish their 
dignities or to give them names. By analysing 
what we find and abstracting what recurs from 
its many vain incidents we can discover a sus- 
tained structure within, which enables us to fore- 
tell what we may find in future. Science thus 
articulates experience and reveals its skeleton. 

Skeletons are not things particularly congenial 
to poets, unless it be for the sake of having some- 
thing truly horrible to shudder at and to frighten 
children with: and so a certain school of philos- 
ophers exhaust their rhetoric in convincing us that 
the objects known to science are artificial and 
dead, while the living reality is infinitely rich and 
absolutely unutterable. This is merely an un- 
gracious way of describing the office of thought and 
bearing witness to its necessity. A body is none 
the worse for having some bones in it, even if 
they are not all visible on the surface. They are 
certainly not the whole man, who nevertheless 
runs and leaps by their leverage and smooth turn- 
ing in their sockets; and a surgeon's studies in 
dead anatomy help him excellently to set a living 
joint. The abstractions of science are extractions 
of truths. Truths cannot of themselves constitute 
existence with its irrational concentration in time, 
place, and person, its hopeless flux, and its vital 
exuberance ; but they can be true of existence; they 
can disclose that structure by which its parts 

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cohere materially and become ideally inferable 
from one another. 

Science becomes demonstrable in proportion as 
it becomes abstract. It becomes in the same 
measure applicable and useful, as mathematics 
witnesses, whenever the abstraction is judiciously 
made and has seized the profounder structural 
features in the phenomenon. These features are 
often hard for human eyes to discern, buried as 
they may be in the internal infinitesimal texture 
of things. Things accordingly seem to move on 
the world's stage in an unaccountable fashion, and 
to betray magic affinities to what is separated from 
them by apparent chasms. The types of relation 
Looser prind- which the mind may observe are mul- 
pies tried first tifarious. Any chance conjunction, 
any incidental harmony, will start a hypothesis 
about the nature of the universe and be the parent 
image of a whole system of philosophy. In self- 
indulgent minds most of these standard images are 
dramatic, and the cue men follow in unravelling 
experience is that offered by some success or fail- 
ure of their own. The sanguine, having once 
found a pearl in a dunghill, feel a glorious as- 
surance that the world's true secret is that every- 
thing in the end is ordered for everybody's benefit 
— and that is optimism. The atraljjlious, being 
ill at ease with themselves, see the workings every- 
where of insidious sin, and conceive that the world 
is a dangerous place of trial. A somewhat more 
observant intellect may decide that what exists is 

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a certain number of definite natures, each striv- 
ing to preserve and express itself; and in such lan- 
guage we still commonly read political events and 
our friend's actions. At the dawn of science a 
Thales, observing the ways and the conditions of 
things somewhat more subtly, will notice that 
rain, something quite adventitious to the fields, is 
what covers them with verdure, that the slime 
breeds life, that a liquid will freeze to stone and 
melt to air ; and his shrewd conclusion will be that 
everything is water in one disguise or another. 
It is only after long accumulated observation that 
we can reach any exact law of nature; and this 
law we hardly think of applying to living things. 
These have not yet revealed the secret of their 
structure, and clear insight is vouchsafed us only 
in such regions as that of mathematical physics, 
where cogency in the ideal system is combined 
with adequacy to explain the phenomena. 

These exact sciences cover in the gross the field 
in which human life appears, the antecedents of 

Mechanism ^ 8 ^ e > an ^ ^ S ^fruments. To a 

for the most speculative mind, that had retained an 
part hidden, ingenuous sense of nature's inexhaust- 
ible resources and of man's essential continuity 
with other natural things, there could be no 
ground for doubting that similar principles (could 
they be traced in detail) would be seen to preside 
over all man's action and passion. A thousand 
indications, drawn from introspection and from 
history, would be found to confirm this specula- 

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tive presumption. It is not only earthquakes and 
floods, summer and winter, that bring human 
musings sharply to book. Love and ambition are 
unmistakable blossomings of material forces, and 
the more intense and poetical a man's sense is of 
his spiritual condition the more loudly will he 
proclaim his utter dependence on nature and the 
identity of the moving principle in him and 
in her. 

Mankind and all its works are undeniably sub- 
ject to gravity and to the law of projectiles; yet 
what is true of these phenomena in bulk seems to 
a superficial observation not to be true of them in 
detail, and a person may imagine that he subverts 
all the laws of physics whenever he wags his 
tongue. Only in inorganic matter is the ruling 
mechanism open to human inspection: here 
changes may be seen to be proportionate to the 
elements and situation in which they occur. 
Habit here seems perfectly steady and is called 
necessity, since the observer is able to deduce it 
unequivocally from given properties in the body 
and in the external bodies acting upon it. In the 
parts of nature which we call living and to which 
we impute consciousness, habit, though it be fatal 
enough, is not so exactly measurable and perspicu- 
ous. Physics cannot account for that minute 
motion and pullulation in the earth's crust of 
which human affairs are a portion. Human 
affairs have to be surveyed under categories lying 
closer to those employed in memory and legend. 

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These looser categories are of every sort — gram- 
matical, moral, magical — and there is no know- 
ing when any of them will apply or in what 
measure. Between the matters covered by the 
exact sciences and vulgar experience there remains, 
accordingly, a wide and nebulous gulf. Where 
we cannot see the mechanism involved in what 
happens we have to be satisfied with an empirical 
description of appearances as they first fall 
together in our apprehension; and this want of 
understanding in the observer is what popular 
philosophy calls intelligence in the world. 

That this gulf is apparent only, being due to 
inadequacy and confusion in human perception 
Yet presum- rather than to incoherence in things, 
ably pervasive. i s a speculative conviction altogether 
trustworthy. Any one who can at all catch the 
drift of experience — moral no less than physical 
— must feel that mechanism rules the whole world. 
There are doubleness and diversity enough in 
things to satiate the greatest lover of chaos; but 
that a cosmos nevertheless underlies the superficial 
play of sense and opinion is what all practical rea- 
son must assume and what all comprehended expe- 
rience bears witness to. A cosmos does not mean 
a disorder with which somebody happens to be well 
pleased; it means a necessity from which every 
one must draw his happiness. If a principle is 
efficacious it is to that extent mechanical. For to 
be efficacious a principle must apply necessarily 
and proportionately; it must assure us that where 

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the factors are the same as on a previous occasion 
the quotient will be the same also. 

Now, in order that the flux of things should 
contain a repetition, elements must be identified 
within it; these identical elements may then find 
themselves in an identical situation, on which the 
same result may ensue which ensued before. If the 
elements were not constant and recognisable, or if 
their relations did not suffice to determine the suc- 
ceeding event, no observation could be transferred 
with safety from the past to the future. Thus art 
and comprehension would be defeated together. 
Novelties in the world are not lacking, because the 
elements entering at any moment into a given com- 
bination have never before entered into a com- 
bination exactly similar. Mechanism applies to 
the matter and minute texture of things; but its 
applying there will create, at each moment, fresh 
ideal wholes, formal unities which mind emanates 
from and represents. The result will accord- 
ingly always be unprecedented in the total 
impression it produces, in exact proportion to the 
singularity of the situation in hand. Mechanical 
processes are not like mathematical relations, 
because they happen. What they express the form 
of is a flux, not a truth or an ideal necessity. 
The situation may therefore always be new, though 
produced from the preceding situation by rules 
which are invariable, since the preceding situation 
was itself novel. 

Mechanism might be called the dialectic of the 

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irrational. It is such a measure of intelligibility 
as is compatible with flux and with existence. 
Existence itself being irrational and change unin- 
telligible, the only necessity they are susceptible 
of is a natural or empirical necessity, impinging 
at both ends upon brute matters of fact. The ex- 
istential elements, their situation, number, affini- 
ties, and mutual influence all have to be begged 
before calculation can begin. When these surds 
have been accepted at their face value, inference 
may set to work among them; yet the inference 
that mechanism will continue to reign will not 
amount to certain knowledge until the event in- 
ferred has come to give it proof. Calculation in 
physics differs from pure dialectic in that the 
ultimate object it looks to is not ideal. Theory 
here must revert to the immediate flux for its 
sanction, whereas dialectic is a centrifugal emana- 
tion from existence and never returns to its point 
of origin. It remains suspended in the ether of 
those eternal relations which forms have, even 
when found embedded in matter. 

If the total flux is continuous and naturally in- 
telligible, why is the part felt by man so disjointed 
inadequacy of an ^ opaque? An answer to this ques- 
conacioutn«s. tion may perhaps be drawn from the 
fact that consciousness apparently arises to express 
the functions only of extremely complicated or- 
ganisms. The basis of thought is vastly more 
elaborate than its deliverance. It takes a wonder- 
ful brain and exquisite senses to produce a few 

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stupid ideas. The mind starts, therefore, with a 
tremendous handicap. In order to attain ade- 
quate practical knowledge it would have to rep- 
resent clearly its own conditions; for the purpose 
of mind is its own furtherance and perfection, and 
before that purpose could be fulfilled the mind's 
interests would have to become parallel to the 
body's fortunes. This means that the body's 
actual relations in nature would have to become 
the mind's favourite themes in discourse. Had 
this harmony been attained, the more accurately 
and intensely thought was exercised the more 
stable its status would become and the more pros- 
perous its undertakings, since lively thought would 
then be a symptom of health in the body and of 
mechanical equilibrium with the environment. 

The body's actual relations, however, on which 
health depends, are infinitely complex and im- 
mensely extended. They sweep the whole mate- 
rial universe and are intertwined most closely 
with all social and passionate forces, with their 
incalculable mechanical springs. Meantime the 
mind begins by being a feeble and inconsequent 
ghost. Its existence is intermittent and its vis- 
ions unmeaning. It fails to conceive its own in- 
terests or the situations that might support or 
defeat those interests. If it pictures anything 
clearly, it is only some phantastic image which in 
no way represents its own complex basis. Thus 
the parasitical human mind, finding what clear 
knowledge it has laughably insufficient to inter- 

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pret its destiny, takes to neglecting knowledge 
altogether and to hugging instead various irra- 
tional ideas. On the one hand it lapses into 
dreams which, while obviously irrelevant to prac- 
tice, express the mind's vegetative instincts; hence 
art and mythology, which substitute play-worlds 
for the real one on correlation with which human 
prosperity and dignity depend. On the other 
hand, the mind becomes wedded to conventional 
objects which mark, perhaps, the turning-points 
of practical life and plot the curve of it in a 
schematic and disjointed fashion, but which are 
themselves entirely opaque and, as we say, mate^*' 
rial. Now as matter is commonly a name for 
things not understood, men materially minded are 
those whose ideas, while practical, are meagre and 
blind, so that their knowledge of nature, if not 
invalid, is exceedingly fragmentary. This gross- 
ness in common sense, like irrelevance in imag- 
ination, springs from the fact that the mind's 
representative powers are out of focus with its 
controlling conditions. 

In other words, sense ought to correspond in 

articulation with the object to be represented — 

otherwise the object's structure, with 

tioniirferior ^he * a * e ** imp 01 * 3 , cannot be trans- 
to that of its f erred into analogous ideas. Now the 
objects. human senses are not at all fitted to 

represent an organism on the scale of the human 
body. They catch its idle gestures but not the 
inner processes which control its action. The 

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senses are immeasurably too gross. What to them 
is a minimum visibile, a just perceptible atom, is 
in the body's structure, very likely, a system of 
worlds, the inner cataclysms of which count in 
producing that so-called atom's behaviour and en- 
dowing it with affinities apparently miraculous. 
What must the seed of animals contain, for in- 
stance, to be the ground, as it notoriously is, for 
every physical and moral property of the off- 
spring? Or what must the system of signals and 
the reproductive habit in a brain be, for it to co- 
ordinate instinctive movements, learn tricks, and 
remember? Our senses can represent at all ade- 
quately only such objects as the solar system or a 
work of human architecture, where the unit's inner 
structure and fermentation may be provisionally 
neglected in mastering the total. The architect 
may reckon in bricks and the astronomer in plan- 
ets and yet foresee accurately enough the practi- 
cal result. In a word, only what is extraordina- • 
rily simple is intelligible to man, while only what 
is extraordinarily complex can support intelli- 
gence. Consciousness is essentially incompetent 
to understand what most concerns it, its own vicis- 
situdes, and sense is altogether out of scale with 
the objects of practical interest in life. 

One consequence of this profound maladjust- 
ment is that science is hard to attain and is 
at first paradoxical. The change of scale required 
is violent and frustrates all the mind's rhetorical 
habits. There is a constant feeling of strain and 

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much flying back to the mother-tongue of myth 
and social symbol. Every wrong hypothesis is 
seized upon and is tried before any 
consequently one will entertain the right one. En- 
retarded » thusiasm for knowledge is chilled by 

repeated failures and a great confusion cannot 
but reign in philosophy. A man with an eye for 
characteristic features in various provinces of ex- 
perience is encouraged to deal with each upon a 
different principle; and where these provinces 
touch or actually fuse, he is at a loss what method 
of comprehension to apply. There sets in, accord- 
ingly, a tendency to use various methods at once 
or a different one on each occasion, as language, 
custom, or presumption seems to demand. Sci- 
ence is reduced by philosophers to plausible dis- 
course, and the more plausible the discourse is, by 
leaning on all the heterogeneous prejudices of the 
hour, the more does it foster the same and dis- 
courage radical investigation. 

Thus even Aristotle felt that good judgment 
and the dramatic habit of things altogether ex- 
cluded the simple physics of Democritus. Indeed, 
as things then stood, Democritus had no right to 
his simplicity, except that divine right which 
comes of inspiration. His was an indefensible 
faith in a single radical insight, which happened 
nevertheless to be true. To justify that insight 
f orensically it would have been necessary to change 
the range of human vision, making it telescopic 
in one region and microscopic in another; whereby 

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the objects so transfigured would have lost their 
familiar aspect and their habitual context in dis- 
course. Without such a startling change of focus 
nature can never seem everywhere mechanical. 
Hence, even to this day, people with broad human 
interests are apt to discredit a mechanical phil- 
osophy. Seldom can penetration and courage in 
thinking hold their own against the miscellaneous 
habits of discourse; and nobody remembers that 
moral values must remain captious, and imagina- 
tive life ignoble and dark, so long as the whole 
basis and application of them is falsely conceived,. 
Discoveries in science are made only by near- 
sighted specialists, while the influence of public 
sentiment and policy still works systematically 
against enlightenment. 

The maladaptation of sense to its objects has a 

second consequence: that speculation is in a way 

nobler for man than direct perception. 

and specula- r r 

tion rendered For direct perception is wholly inade- 
necessary. quate to render the force, the reality, 
the subtle relations of the object perceived, unless 
this object be a shell only, like a work of fine art, 
where nothing counts but the surface. Since the 
function of perception is properly to give under- 
standing and dominion, direct perception is a de- 
feat and, as it were, an insult to the mind, thus 
forced to busy itself about so unintelligible and 
dense an apparition. ^Esthetic enthusiasm cares 
nothing about what the object inwardly is, what 
is its efficacious movement and real life. It revels 

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selfishly in the harmonies of perception itself, 
harmonies which perhaps it attributes to the object 
through want of consideration. These aBsthetic 
objects, which have no intrinsic unity or cohesion, 
lapse in the most melancholy and inexplicable 
fashion before our eyes. Then we cry that beauty 
wanes, that life is brief, and that its prizes are de- 
ceptive. Our minds have fed on casual aspects of 
nature, like tints in sunset clouds. Imaginative 
fervour has poured itself out exclusively on these 
apparitions, which are without relevant backing in 
the world; and long, perhaps, before this life is 
over, which we called too brief, we begin to pine 
for another, where just those images which here 
played so deceptively on the surface of the flux 
may be turned into fixed and efficacious realities. 
Meantime speculation amuses us with prophecies 
about what such realities might be. We look for 
them, very likely, in the wrong place, namely, in 
human poetry and eloquence, or at best in dialec- 
tic ; yet even when stated in these mythical terms 
the hidden world divined in meditation seems 
nobler and, as we say, more real than the objects 
of sense. For we hope, in those speculative vis- 
ions, to reach the permanent, the efficacious, the 
stanch principles of experience, something to rely 
on in prospect and appeal to in perplexity. 

Science, in its prosaic but trustworthy fashion, 
passes likewise beyond the dreamlike unities and 
cadences which sense discloses; only, as science 
aims at controlling its speculation by experiment, 

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the hidden reality it discloses is exactly like what 
sense perceives, though on a different scale, and 
not observable, perhaps, without a magic carpet 
of hypothesis, to carry the observer to the ends 
of the universe or, changing his dimensions, to in- 
troduce him into those infinitesimal abysses where 
nature has her workshop. In this region, were 
it sufficiently explored, we might find just those 
solid supports and faithful warnings which we 
were looking for with such ill success in our 
rhetorical speculations. The machinery disclosed 
would not be human; it would be machinery. 
But it would for that very reason serve the pur- 
pose which made us look for it instead of remain- 
ing, like the lower animals, placidly gazing on the 
pageants of sense, till some unaccountable pang 
forced us to spasmodic movement. It is doubt- 
less better to find material engines — not necessa- 
rily inanimate, either — which may really serve to 
bring order, security, and progress into our lives., 
than to find impassioned or ideal spirits, that can 
do nothing for us except, at best, assure us that 
they are perfectly happy. 

The reigning aversion to mechanism is partly 
natural and partly artificial. The natural aver- 
sion cannot be wholly overcome. Like 
tionwith the aversion to death, to old age, to 
mechanism labour, it is called forth by man's 
parUyna natural situation in a world which 
was not made for him, but in which he grew. 
That the efficacious structure of things should not 

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be intentionally spectacular nor poetical, that its 
units should not be terms in common discourse, 
nor its laws quite like the logic of passion, is of 
course a hard lesson to learn. The learning, how- 
ever — not to speak of its incidental delights — is 
so extraordinarily good for people that only with 
that instruction and the blessed renunciations it 
brings can clearness, dignity, or virility enter their 
minds. And of course, if the material basis of 
human strength could be discovered and better 
exploited, the free activity of the mind would be 
not arrested but enlarged. Geology adds some- 
thing to the interest of landscape, and botany 
much to the charm of flowers; natural history in- 
creases the pleasure with which we view society 
and the justice with which we judge it. An in- 
stinctive sympathy, a solicitude for the perfect 
working of any delicate thing, as it makes the 
ruffian tender to a young child, is a sentiment 
inevitable even toward artificial organisms. Could 
we better perceive the fine fruits of order, the dire 
consequences of every specific cruelty or jar, we 
should grow doubly considerate toward all forms; 
for we exist through form, and the love of form 
is our whole real inspiration. 

The artificial prejudice against mechanism is 
a fruit of party spirit. When a myth has become 
and partly the centre or sanction for habits and 
artificial. institutions, these habits and institu- 

tions stand against any conception incompatible 
with that myth. It matters nothing that the val- 

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lies the myth was designed to express may remain 
standing without it, or may be transferred to its 
successor. Social and intellectual inertia is too 
great to tolerate so simple an evolution. It di- 
vides opinions not into false and true but into 
high and low, or even more frankly into those 
which are acceptable and comforting to its ruffled 
faith and those which are dangerous, alarming, 
and unfortunate. Imagine Socrates "viewing 
with alarm " the implications of an argument! 
This artificial prejudice is indeed modern and will 
not be eternal. Ancient sages, when they wished 
to rebuke the atheist, pointed to the very heavens 
which a sentimental religion would nowadays 
gladly prove to be unreal, lest the soul should 
learn something of their method. Yet the Ptole- 
maic spheres were no more manlike and far less 
rich in possibilities of life than the Copernican 
star-dust. The ancients thought that what was 
intelligible was divine. Order was what they 
meant by intelligence, and order productive of ex- 
cellence was what they meant by reason. When 
they noticed that the stars moved perpetually and 
according to law, they seriously thought they were 
beholding the gods. The stars as we conceive 
them are not in that sense perfect. But the order 
which nature does not cease to manifest is still 
typical of all order, and is sublime. It is from 
these regions of embodied law that intelligibility 
and power combined come to make their covenant 
with us, as with all generations. 

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The emotions and the moral principles that are 
naturally allied to materialism suffer an eclipse 

when materialism, which is properly 
ments inspired a primary or dogmatic philosophy, 
by moral breathing courage and victory, appears 

as a destructive force and in the in- 
congruous rdle of a critic. One dogmatism is not 
fit to criticise another; their conflict can end only 
in insults, sullenness, and an appeal to that 
physical drift and irrational selection which may 
ultimately consign one party to oblivion. But a 
philosophy does ill to boast of such borrowed 
triumphs. The next turn of the wheel may crush 
the victor, and the opinions hastily buried may 
rise again to pose as the fashionable and superior 
insights of a later day. To criticise dogmatism 
it is necessary to be a genuine sceptic, an honest 
transcendentalist, that falls back on the immediate 
and observes by what principles of logical archi- 
tecture the ultimate, the reality discovered, has 
been inferred from it. Such criticism is not 
necessarily destructive; some construction and 
some belief being absolutely inevitable, if reason 
and life are to operate at all, criticism merely 
offers us the opportunity of revising and purify- 
ing our dogmas, so as to make them reasonable 
and congruous with practice. Materialism may 
thus be reinstated on transcendental grounds, and 
the dogma at first uttered in the flush of intelli- 
gent perception, with no scruple or self -conscious- 
ness, may be repeated after a thorough examina- 

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tion of heart, on the ground that it is the best 
possible expression of experience, the inevitable 
deliverance of thought. So approached, a dog- 
matic system will carry its critical justification 
with it, and the values it enshrines and secures 
will not be doubtful. The emotions it arouses 
will be those aroused by the experience it explains. 
Causes having been found for what is given, these 
causes will be proved to have just that beneficent 
potency and just that distressing inadequacy 
which the joys and failures of life show that the 
reality has, whatever this reality may otherwise 
be. The theory will add nothing except the suc- 
cess involved in framing it. Life being once for 
all what it is, no physics can render it worse or 
better, save as the knowledge of physics, with in- 
sight into the causes of our varied fortunes, is 
itself an achievement and a new resource. 

A theory is not an unemotional thing. If 
music can be full of passion, merely by giving form 
to a single sense, how much more beauty or terror 
may v^iot a vision be pregnant with which brings 
order and method into everything that we know. 
Materialism has its distinct aBsthetic and emotional 
colour, though this may be strangely affected and 
even reversed by contrast with systems of an in- 
congruous hue, jostling it accidentally in a con- 
fused and amphibious mind. If you are in the 
habit of believing in special providences, or of ex- 
pecting to continue your romantic adventures in 
a second life, materialism will dash your hopes 

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most unpleasantly, and you may think for a year 
or two that you have nothing left to live for. But 
a thorough materialist, one born to the faith and 
not half plunged into it by an unexpected chris- 
tening in cold water, will be like the 
emotions superb Democritus, a laughing philos- 
properto opher. His delight in a mechanism 
"* that can fall into so many marvellous 

and beautiful shapes, and can generate so many 
exciting passions, should be of the same intel- 
lectual quality as that which the visitor feels in a 
museum of natural history, where he views the 
myriad butterflies in their cases, the flamingoes 
and shell-fish, the mammoths and gorillas. 
Doubtless there were pangs in that incalculable 
life, but they were soon over; and how splendid 
meantime was the pageant, how infinitely interest- 
ing the universal interplay, and how foolish and 
inevitable those absolute little passions. Some- 
what of that sort might be the sentiment that 
materialism would arouse in a vigorous mind, 
active, joyful, impersonal, and in respect to private 
illusions not without a touch of scorn. 

To the genuine sufferings of living creatures 
the ethics that accompanies materialism has never 
been insensible ; on the contrary, like other merci- 
ful systems, it has trembled too much at pain and 
tended to withdraw the will ascetically, lest the 
will should be defeated. Contempt for mortal sor- 
rows is reserved for those who drive with hosannas 
the Juggernaut car of absolute optimism. But 

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against evils born of pure vanity and self-decep- 
tion, against the verbiage by which man persuades 
himself that he is the goal and acme of the uni- 
verse, laughter is the proper defence. Laughter 
also has this subtle advantage, that it need not 
remain without an overtone of sympathy and 
brotherly understanding; as the laughter that 
greets Don Quixote's absurdities and misadven- 
tures does not mock the hero's intent. His ardour 
was admirable, but the world must be known be- 
fore it can be reformed pertinently, and happiness, 
to be attained, must be placed in reason. 

Oblivious of Democritus, the unwilling mate- 
rialists of our day have generally been awkwardly 
intellectual and quite incapable of laughter. If 
they have felt anything, they have felt melan- 
choly. Their allegiance and affection were still 
fixed on those mythical sentimental worlds which 
they saw to be illusory. The mechanical world 
they believed in could not. please them, in spite 
of its extent and fertility. Giving rhetorical vent 
to their spleen and prejudice, they exaggerated 
nature's meagreness and mathematical dryness. 
When their imagination was chilled they spoke of 
nature, most unwarrantably, as dead, and when 
their judgment was heated they took the next step 

The material an( ^ ca ^ e ^ ** unreal. A. man is not 
world not blind, however, because every part of 

dead nor ugly, n j g j^y • g nQ j. ftn e ^ nQr eyer y musc l e 

in his eye a nerve sensitive to light. Why, then, 
is nature dead, although it swarms with living 

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organisms, if every part is not obviously animate ? 
And why is the sun dark and cold, if it is bright 
and hot only to animal sensibility? This sense- 
less lamentation is like the sophism of those In- 
dian preachers who, to make men abandon the illu- 
sions of self-love, dilated on the shocking contents 
of the human body. Take off the skin, they 
cried, and you will discover nothing but loath- 
some bleeding and quivering substances. Yet the 
inner organs are well enough in their place and 
doubtless pleasing to the microbes that inhabit 
them; and a man is not hideous because his cross- 
section would not offer the features of a beautiful 
countenance. So the structure of the world is not 
therefore barren or odious because, if you removed 
its natural outer aspect and effects, it would not 
make an interesting landscape. Beauty being an 
appearance and life an operation, that is surely 
beautiful and living which so operates and so 
appears as to manifest those qualities. 

It is true that materialism prophesies an ulti- 
mate extinction for man and all his works. The 
nor especially horror which this prospect inspires in 
«~L the natural man might be mitigated 

by reflection; but, granting the horror, is it some- 
thing introduced by mechanical theories and not 
present in experience itself? Are human things 
inwardly stable ? Do they belong to the eternal in 
any sense in which the operation of material forces 
can touch their immortality? The panic which 
seems to seize some minds at the thought of a 

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merely natural existence is something truly hys- 
terical; and yet one wonders why ultimate peace 
should seem so intolerable to people who not so 
many years ago found a stern religious satisfac- 
tion in consigning almost the whole human race 
to perpetual torture, the Creator, as Saint Augus- 
tine tells us, having in his infinite wisdom and 
justice devised a special kind of material fire that 
might avail to burn resurrected bodies for ever 
without consuming them. A very real truth 
might be read into this savage symbol, if we 
understood it to express the ultimate defeats and 
fruitless agonies that pursue human folly ; and so 
we might find that it gave mythical expression to 
just that conditioned fortune and inexorable flux 
which a mechanical philosophy shows us the 
grounds of. Our own vices in another man seem 
particularly hideous; and so those actual evils 
which we take for granted when incorporated in 
the current system strike us afresh when we see 
them in a new setting. But it is not mechanical 
science that introduced mutability into things nor 
materialism that invented death. 

The death of individuals, as we observe daily 
in nature, does not prevent the reappearance of 

Mechanism to ^ e > an ^ ^ we cnoose *° indulge in 
be judged by arbitrary judgments on a subject 
ts fruits. w here data fail us, we may as reason- 
ably wish that there might be less life as that 
there might be more. The passion for a large and 
permanent population in the universe is not 

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obviously rational ; at a great distance a man must 
view everything, including himself, under the form 
of eternity, and when life is so viewed its length 
or its diffusion becomes a point of little impor- 
tance. What matters then is quality. The reason- 
able and humane demand to make of the world is 
that such creatures as exist should not be unhappy 
and that life, whatever its quantity, should have 
a quality that may justify it in its own eyes. 
This just demand, made by conscience and not by 
an arbitrary fancy, the world described by mech- 
anism does not fulfil altogether, for adjustments 
in it are tentative, and much friction must pre- 
cede and follow upon any vital equilibrium at- 
tained. This imperfection, however, is actual, 
and no theory can overcome it except by verbal 
fallacies and scarcely deceptive euphemisms. 
What mechanism involves in this respect is ex- 
actly what we find : a tentative appearance of life 
in many quarters, its disappearance in some, and 
its reinforcement and propagation in others, where 
the physical equilibrium attained insures to it 8 
natural stability and a natural prosperity. 

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When Democritus proclaimed the sovereignty 
of mechanism, he did so in the oracular fashion 
w t , proper to an ancient sage. He found 

restricted to it no harder to apply his atomic theory 
one-half of to the mind and to the gods than to 

existence. * 

solids and fluids. It sufficed to con- 
ceive that such an explanation might be possible, 
and to illustrate the theory by a few scattered 
facts and trenchant hypotheses. When Descartes, 
after twenty centuries of verbal physics, reintro- 
duced mechanism into philosophy, he made a 
striking modification in its claims. He divided 
existence into two independent regions, and it 
was only in one, in the realm of extended things, 
that mechanism was expected to prevail. Mental 
facts, which he approached from the side of ab- 
stracted reflection and Platonic ideas, seemed to 
him obviously non-extended, even when they rep- 
resented extension; and with them mechanism 
could have nothing to do. Descartes had recov- 
ered in the science of mechanics a firm nucleus 
for physical theory, a stronghold from which it had 

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become impossible to dislodge scientific methods. 
There, at any rate, form, mass, distance, and other 
mathematical relations governed the transforma- 
tion of things. Yet the very clearness and ex- 
haustiveness of this mechanical method, as applied 
to gross masses in motion, made it seem essen- 

* tially inapplicable to anything else. Descartes 
was far too radical and incisive a thinker, however, 
not to feel that it must apply throughout nature. 
Imaginative difficulties due to the complexity of 
animal bodies could not cloud his rational insight. 
Animal bodies, then, were mere machines, clean- 
cut and cold engines like so. many anatomical 
manikins. They explained themselves and all 
their operations, talking and building temples 
being just as truly a matter of physics as the revo- 
lution of the sky. But the soul had dropped out, 
and Descartes was the last man to ignore the soul. 
There had dropped out also the secondary quali- 
ties of matter, all those qualities, namely, which 
are negligible in mechanical calculations. Mech- 
anism was in truth far from universal; all mental 
facts and half the properties of matter, as matter 
is revealed to man, came into being without ask- 
ing leave; they were interlopers in the intelligible 
universe. Indeed, Descartes was willing to admit 
that these inexplicable bystanders might some- 
times put their finger in the pie, and stir the mate- 
rial world judiciously so as to give it a new direc- 
tion, although without adding to its substance or 

. to its force. 

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The situation so created gave the literary phil- 
osophers an excellent chance to return to the at- 
tack and to swallow and digest the new-born 
mechanism in their facile systems. Theologians 
and metaphysicians in one quarter and psycholo- 
gists in another found it easy and inevitable to 
treat the whole mechanical world as a mere idea. 
In that case, it is true, the only existences that 
remained remained entirely without calculable 
connections; everything was a divine trance or a 
shower of ideas falling by chance through the 
void. But this result might not be unwelcome. 
It fell in well enough with that love of emotional 
issues, that want of soberness and want of cogency, 
which is so characteristic of modern philosophers. 
Christian theology still remained the background 
and chief point of reference for speculation; if 
its eclectic dogmas could be in part supported or 
in part undermined, that constituted a sufficient 
literary success, and what became of science was 
of little moment in comparison. 

Science, to be sure, could very well take care of 
itself and proceeded in its patient course without 
Men of science caj ^ I1 S particularly what status the 
not specula- metaphysicians might assign to it. 
**** Not to be a philosopher is even an 

advantage for a man of science, because he is then 
more willing to adapt his methods to the state of 
knowledge in his particular subject, without in- 
sisting on ultimate intelligibility; and he has per- 
haps more joy of his discoveries than he might 

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have if he had discounted them in his specula- 
tions. Darwin, for instance, did more than any 
one since Newton to prove that mechanism is uni- 
versal, but without apparently believing that it 
really was so, or caring about the question at all. 
In natural history, observation has not yet come 
within range of accurate processes ; it merely reg- 
isters habits and traces empirical derivations. 
Even in chemistry, while measure and proportion 
are better felt, the ultimate units and the radical 
laws are still problematical. The recent immense 
advances in science have been in acquaintance 
with nature rather than in insight. Greater com- 
plexity, greater regularity, greater naturalness 
have been discovered everywhere; the profound 
analogies in things, their common evolution, have 
appeared unmistakably; but the inner texture of 
the process has not been laid bare. 

This cautious peripheral attack, which does so 
much honour to the scientific army and has won 
it so many useful victories, is another proof that 
science is nothing but common knowledge ex- 
tended. It is willing to reckon in any terms and 
to study any subject-matter; where it cannot see 
necessity it will notice law; where laws cannot be 
stated it will describe habits; where habits fail it 
will classify types; and where types even are in- 
discernible it will not despise statistics. In this 
way studies which are scientific in spirit, however 
loose their results, may be carried on in social mat- 
ters, in political economy, in anthropology, in 

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psychology. The historical sciences, also, philol- / 
ogy and archaeology, have reached tentatively very 
important results; it is enough that an intelligent 
man should gather in any quarter a rich fund of 
information, for the movement of his subject to 
pass somehow to his mind: and if his apprehen 
sion follows that movement — not breaking in upon 
it with extraneous matter — it will be scientific 

What confuses and retards science in these 
ambiguous regions is the difficulty of getting rid 
Confusion in °^ ^ e * ore ig n element, or even of de- 
gemi-morai ciding what the element native to the 
mi jects. object is. In political economy, for 

instance, it is far from clear whether the subject 
is moral, and therefore to be studied and expressed 
dialectically, or whether it is descriptive, and so 
in the end a matter of facts and of mechanics. 
Are you formulating an interest or tracing a se- 
quence of events? And if both simultaneously, 
are you studying the world in order to see what 
acts, in a given situation, would serve your purpose 
and so be right, or are you taking note of your own 
intentions, and of those of other people, in order 
to infer from them the probable course of affairs ? 
In the first case you are a moralist observing na- 
ture in order to use it; you are defining a policy, 
and that definition is not knowledge of anything; 
except of your own heart. Neither you nor any 
one else may ever take such a single-minded and 
unchecked course in the world as the one you are 

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excogitating. No one may ever have been guided 
in the past by any such absolute plan. 

For this same reason, if (to take up the other 
supposition) you are a naturalist studying the 
actual movement of affairs, you would do well not 
to rely on the conscious views or intentions of 
anybody. A natural philosopher is on dangerous 
ground when he uses psychological or moral terms 
in his calculation. If you use such terms — and 
to forbid their use altogether would be pedantic — 
you should take them for conventional literary ex- 
pressions, covering an unsolved problem ; for these 
views and intentions have a brief and inconse- 
quential tenure of life and their existence is merely 
a sign for certain conjunctions in nature, where 
processes hailing from afar have met in a man, 
soon to pass beyond him. If they figure as causes 
in nature, it is only because they represent the 
material processes that have brought them into 
being. The existential element in mental facts is 
not so remote from matter as Descartes imagined. 
Even if we are not prepared to admit with Democ- 
ritus that matter is what makes them up (as it 
well might if "matter" were taken in a logical 
sense) * we should agree that their substance is in 

* The term " matter " (which ought before long to reappear 
in philosophy) has two meanings. In popular science and the- 
ology it commonly means a group of things in space, like the 
atoms of Democritus or the human body and its members. 
Such matter plainly exists. Its particles are concretions in 
existence like the planets; and if a given hypothesis describing 
them turns out to be wrong, it is wrong only because this matter 

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mechanical flux, and that their form, by which L 
they become moral unities, is only an ideal aspect 

exists so truly and in such discoverable guise that the hypothesis 
in question may be shown to misrepresent its constitution. 

On the other hand, in Aristotle and in literary speech, mat- 
ter means something good to make other things out of. Here 
it is a concretion in discourse, a dialectical term; being only an v 
aspect or constituent of every existence, it cannot exist by 
itself. A state of mind, like everything not purely formal, 
has matter of this sort in it. Actual love, for instance, differs 
materially from the mere idea or possibility of love, which is all 
love would be if the matter or body of it were removed. This 
matter is what idealists, bent on giving it a grander name, 
call pure feeling, absolute consciousness, or metaphysical will. 
These phrases are all used improperly to stand for the existence 
or presence of things apart from their character, or for the 
mere strain and dead weight of being. Matter is a far better 
term to use in the premises, for it suggests the method as well 
as the fact of brute existence. The surd in experience — its > 
non-ideal element — is not an indifferent vehicle for what it ■ 
brings, as would be implied by calling it pure feeling or abso- 
lute consciousness. Nor is it an act accepting or rejecting 
objects, as would be implied by calling it will. In truth, the surd 
conditions not merely the being of objects but their possible 
quantity, the time and place of their appearance, and their 
degree of perfection compared with the ideals they suggest. 
These important factors in whatever exists are covered by the ' 
term matter and give it a serious and indispensable role in ,, 
describing and feeling the world. 

Aristotle, it may be added, did not adhere with perfect con- 
sistency to the dialectical use of this word. Matter is some- 
times used by him for substance or for actual beings having 
both matter and form. The excuse for this apparent lapse is, 
of course, that what taken by itself is a piece of formed matter 
or an individual object may be regarded as mere material for 
something else which it helps to constitute, as wheat is matter 
for flour, and flour for bread. Thus the dialectical and non- 
demonstrative use of the term to indicate one aspect of every- 
thing could glide into its vulgar acceptation, to indicate one 
class of things. 

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of that moving substance. Moral unities are 
created by a point of view, as right and left are, 
and for that reason are not efficacious; though of 
course the existences they enclose, like the things 
lying to the left and to the right, move in unison 
with the rest of nature. 

People doubtless do well to keep an eye open 
for morals when they study physics, and vice versa, 
since it is only by feeling how the two spheres hang 
together that the Life of Season can be made to 
walk on both feet. Yet to discriminate between 
the two is no scholastic subtlety. There is the 
same practical inconvenience in taking one for the 
other as in trying to gather grapes from thistles. 
A hybrid science is sterile. If the reason escapes 
us, history should at least convince us of the fact, 
when we remember the issue of Aristotelian 
physics and of cosmological morals. Where the 
subject-matter is ambiguous and the method 
double, you have scarcely reached a result which 
seems plausible for the moment, when a rival 
school springs up, adopting and bringing forward 
the submerged element in your view, and reject- 
ing your achievement altogether. A seesaw and 
endless controversy thus take the place of a steady, 
co-operative advance. This disorder reigns in 
morals, metaphysics, and psychology, and the con- 
flicting schools of political economy and of history 
loudly proclaim it to the world. 

The modesty of men of science, their aversion 
(or incapacity) to carry their principles over into 

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speculation, has left the greater part of physics 
or the theory of existence to the metaphysicians. 
44 Ph *cof Wlmt they have made of it does not 
metaphyac concern us here, since the result has 
begs defence.** qq^q^j no t Deen a science; indeed 

they have obscured the very notion that there should 
be a science of all existence and that metaphysics, 
if it is more than a name for ultimate physics, can ■ 
be nothing but dialectic, which does not look toward j 
existence at all. But the prevalence of a mythi- 
cal physics, purporting to describe the structure 
of the universe in terms quite other than those 
which scientific physics could use, has affected this 
scientific physics and seriously confused it. Its 
core, in mechanics, to be sure, could not be 
touched; and the detail even of natural history 
and chemistry could not be disfigured: but the 
general aspect of natural history could be ren- 
dered ambiguous in the doctrine of evolution; 
while in psychology, which attempted to deal with 
that half of the world which Descartes had not 
subjected to mechanism, confusion could hold 
undisputed sway. 

There is a sense in which the notion of evolu- 
tion is involved in any mechanical system. Des- 
Evoiution by cartes indeed had gone so far as to de- 
mechanism, scribe, in strangely simple terms, how 
the world, with all its detail, might have been 
produced by starting any motion anywhere in the 
midst of a plenum at rest. The idea of evolution 
could not be more curtly put forth; so much so 

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that Descartes had to arm himself against the 
inevitable charge that he was denying the creation, 
by protesting that his doctrine was a supposition 
contrary to fact, and that though the world might 
have been so formed, it was really created as Gen- 
esis recorded. Moreover, in antiquity, every Ionian 
philosopher had conceived a gradual crystallisa- 
tion of nature ; while Empedocles, in his magnifi- 
cent oracles, had anticipated Darwin's philosophy 
without Darwin's knowledge. It is clear that if 
the forces that hold an organism together are 
mechanical, and therefore independent of the ideal 
unities they subtend, those forces suffice to explain 
the origin of the organism, and can have produced 
it. Darwin's discoveries, like every other advance 
in physical insight, are nothing but filling for 
that abstract assurance. They show us how the 
supposed mechanism really works in one particu- 
lar field, in one stage of its elaboration. As ear- 
lier naturalists had shown us how mechanical 
causes might produce the miracle of the sunrise 
and the poetry of the seasons, so Darwin showed 
us how similar causes might secure the adaptation 
of animals to their habitat. Evolution, so con- 
ceived, is nothing but a detailed account of me- 
chanical origins. 

At the same time the word evolution has a cer- 
Evoiution by * a * n P om P an ^ glamour about it which 
ideal attr»c- fits ill with so prosaic an interpreta- 
tion ' tion. In the unfolding of a bud we are 

wont to see, as it were, the fulfilment of a prede- 

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termined and glorious destiny; for the seed was 
an epitome or condensation of a full-blown plant 
and held within it, in some sort of potential guise, 
the very form which now peeps out in the young 
flower. Evolution suggests a prior involution or 
contraction and the subsequent manifestation of 
an innate ideal. Evolution should move toward 
a fixed consummation the approaches to which we 
might observe and measure. Yet evolution, in 
this prophetic sense of the word, would be the 
exact denial of what Darwin, for instance, was 
trying to prove. It would be a return to Aris- 
totelian notions of heredity and potential being; 
for it was the essence of Aristotle's physics — of 
which his theology was an integral part and a 
logical capping — that the forms which beings ap- 
proached pre-existed in other beings from which 
they had been inherited, and that the intermediate 
stages during which the butterfly shrank to a grub 
could not be understood unless we referred them 
to their origin and their destiny. The physical 
essence and potency of seeds lay in their ideal re- 
lations, not in any actual organisation they might 
possess in the day of their eclipse and slumber. 
An egg evolved into a chicken not by mechanical 
necessity — for an egg had a comparatively simple 
structure — but by virtue of an ideal harmony in 
things ; since it was natural and fitting that what i 
had come from a hen should lead on to a hen 
again. The»ideal nature possessed by the parent, 
hovering over the passive seed, magically induced 

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it to grow into the parent's semblance; and growth 
was the gradual approach to the perfection which 
this ancestral essence prescribed. This was why 
Aristotle's God, though in character an unmis- 
takable ideal, had to be at the same time an actual 
existence; since the world would not have known 
which way to move or what was its inner ideal, 
unless this ideal, already embodied somewhere 
else, drew it on and infused movement and direc- 
tion into the world's structureless substance. 

The underlying Platonism in this magical 
physics is obvious, since the natures that Aristotle 
made to rule the world were eternal natures. An 
individual might fail to be a perfect man or a per- 
fect monkey, but the specific human or simian 
ideal, by which he had been formed in so far as 
he was formed at all, was not affected by this 
accidental resistance in the matter at hand, as an 
adamantine seal, even if at times the wax by defect 
or impurity failed to receive a perfect impression, 
would remain unchanged and ready to be stamped 
perpetually on new material. 

The contrast is obvious between this Platonic 
physics and a naturalism like that of Darwin. 
The point of evolution, as selection 
ev^d*they produces it, is that new species may 
cannot guide arise. The very title of Darwin's 
ev u ©n, book « The Origin of Species " is a 
denial of Aristotelianism and, in the pregnant 
sense, of evolution. It suggests that the type ap- 
proached by each generation may differ from that 

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approached by the previous one; that not merely 
the degree of perfection, but the direction of 
growth, may vary. The individual is not merely 
unfolded from an inner potentiality derived from 
a like ancestor and carrying with it a fixed eternal 
ideal, but on the contrary the very ground plan of 
organisation may gradually change and a new 
form and a new ideal may appear. Spontaneous 
variations — of course mechanically caused * — may 
occur and may modify the hereditary form of 
animals. These variations, superposed upon one 
another, may in time constitute a nature wholly 
unlike its first original. This accidental, cumu- 
lative evolution accordingly justifies a declaration 
of moral liberty. I am not obliged to aspire to 
the nature my father aspired to, for the ground 
of my being is partly new. In me nature is 
making a novel experiment. I am the adoring 

* It has been suggested — what will not party spirit contrive? 
— that these variations, called spontaneous by Darwin because 
not predetermined by heredity, might be spontaneous in a meta- 
physical sense, free acts with no material basis or cause what- 
soever. Being free, these acts might deflect evolution — like 
Descartes' soul acting on the pineal gland — into wonderful new 
courses, prevent dissolution, and gradually bring on the king- 
dom of Heaven, all as the necessary implication of the latest sci- 
ence and the most atheistic philosophy. It may not be need- 
less to observe that if the variations were absolutely free, t. c, 
intrusions of pure chance, they would tend every which way 
quite as much as if they were mechanically caused ; while if they 
were kept miraculously in line with some far-off divine event, 
they would not be free at all, but would be due to metaphysical 
attraction and a magic destiny prepared in the eternal; and so 
we should be brought round to Aristotelian physics again. 

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creator of a new spiritual good. My duties have 
shifted with my shifting faculties, and the ideal 
which I propose to myself, and alone can honestly 
propose, is unprecedented, the expression of a 
moving existence and without authority beyond 
the range of existences congruous with mine. 

All that is scientific or Darwinian in the theory 
of evolution is accordingly an application of mech- 
intrusion of anism, a proof that mechanism lies at 
optimism. the basis of life and morals. The 
Aristotelian notion of development, however, was 
too deeply rooted in tradition for it to disappear 
at a breath. Evolution as conceived by Hegel, for 
instance, or even by Spencer, retained Aristotelian 
elements, though these were disguised and hidden 
under a cloud of new words. Both identify evo- 
lution with progress, with betterment; a notion 
which would naturally be prominent in any one 
with enlightened sympathies living in the nine- 
teenth century, when a new social and intellectual 
I order was forcing itself on a world that happened 
largely to welcome the change, but a notion that 
has nothing to do with natural science. The fit- 
test to live need not be those with the most har- 
monious inner life nor the best possibilities. The 
fitness might be due to numbers, as in a political 
election, or to tough fibre, as in a tropical climate. 
Of course a form of being that circumstances make 
impossible or hopelessly laborious had better dive 
under and cease for the moment to be; but the 
circumstances that render it inopportune do not 

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render it essentially inferior. Circumstances have 
no power of that kind; and perhaps the worst 
incident in the popular acceptance of evolution 
has been a certain brutality thereby introduced 
into moral judgment, an abdication of human 
ideals, a mocking indifference to justice, under 
cover of respect for what is bound to be, and for 
the rough economy of the world. Disloyalty to 
the good in the guise of philosophy had appeared 
also among the ancients, when their political 
ethics had lost its authority, just as it appeared 
among us when the prestige of religion had de- 
clined. The Epicureans sometimes said that one 
should pursue pleasure because all the animals did 
so, and the Stoics that one should fill one's ap- 
pointed place in nature, because such was the prac- 
tice of clouds and rivers. 

Hegel possessed a keen scent for instability in 
men's attitudes and opinions; he had no need of 
Evolution Darwin's facts to convince him that 
according to in moral life, at least, there were no 
HcgeL permanent species and that every pos- 

ture of thought was an untenable half-way station 
between two others. His early contact with Prot- 
estant theology may have predisposed him to that 
opinion. At any rate he had no sympathy with 
that Platonism that allowed everything to have its 
eternal ideal, with which it might ultimately be 
identified. Such ideals would be finite, they would 
arrest the flux, and they would try to break loose 
from their enveloping conditions. Hegel was no 

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moralist in the Socratic sense, but a naturalist 
seeking formulas for the growth of moral experi- 
ence. Instead of questioning the heart, he some- 
V what satirically described its history. At the 
same time he was heir to that mythology which 
had deified the genetic or physical principle in 
things, and though the traditional myths suffered 
cruel operations at his hands, and often died of 
explanation, the mythical principle itself remained 
untouched and was the very breath of his nostrils. 
He never doubted that the formula he might find 
for the growth of experience would be also the 
ultimate good. What other purpose could the 
r world have than to express the formula according 
to which it was being generated ? 

In this honest conviction we see. the root, per- 
haps, of that distaste for correct physics that pre- 
vails among many who call themselves idealists. 
If physics were for some reason to be adored, it 
would be disconcerting to find in physics nothing 
but atoms and a void. It is hard to understand, 
however, why a fanciful formula expressing the 
evolution of this perturbed universe, and painting 
it no better than it is, should be more worshipful 
than an exact formula meant to perform the same 
office. A myth that enlarged the world and prom- 
ised a complete transformation of its character 
might have its charms; but the improvement is 
not obvious that accrues by making the drift of 
things, just as it drifts, its own standard. Yet 
for Hegel it mattered nothing how unstable all 

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ideals might be, since the only use of them was to 
express a principle of transition, and this prin- 
ciple was being realised, eternally and unawares, 
by the self-devouring and self-transcending pur- 
poses rolling in the flux. 

This philosophy might not be much relished if 
it were more frankly expressed; yet something of 
The con- ^e sort floats vaguely before most 
relative in- minds when they think of evolution, 
terpretation. rp^ ^p eg Q j fefag change, they say: 

in this sense the Aristotelian notion of a prede- 
termined form unfolding itself in each species has 
yielded to a more correct and more dynamic 
physics. But the changes, so people imagine, ex- 
press a predetermined ideal, no longer, of course, 
the ideal of. these specific things, but one over- 
arching the cosmic movement. The situation 
might be described by saying that this is Aris- 
totle's view adapted to a world in which there is 
only one species or only one individual. The 
earlier phases of life are an imperfect expression 
of the same nature which the later phases express 
more fully. Hence the triumphant march of evo- 
lution and the assumption that whatever is later 
is necessarily better than what went before. If 
a child were simply the partial expression of a 
man, his single desire would be to grow up, and 
when he was grown up he would embody all he 
had been striving for and would be happy for ever 
after. So if man were nothing but a halting re- 
production of divinity and destined to become God, 

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his whole destiny would be fulfilled by apotheosis. 
If this apotheosis, moreover, were an actual future 
event, something every man and animal was some 
day to experience, evolution might really have a 
final goal, and might lead to a new and presumably 
better sort of existence— existence in the eternal. 
Somewhat in this fashion evolution is understood 
by the party that wish to combine it with a re- 
freshed patristic theology. 

There is an esoteric way, however, of taking 
these matters which is more in sympathy both 
The radical ' w ^ 1 natural evolution and with trans- 
one, cendental philosophy. If we assert 
that evolution is infinite, no substantive goal can 
be set to it. The goal will be the process itself, 
if we could only open our eyes upon its beauty 
and necessity. The apotheosis will be retroactive, 
nay, it has already taken place. The insight in- 
volved is mystical, yet in a way more just to the 
facts than any promise of ulterior blisses. For it 
is not really true that a child has no other ideal 
than to become a man. Childhood has many an 
ideal of its own, many a beauty and joy irrelevant 
to manhood, and such that manhood is incapable 
of retaining or containing them. If the ultimate 
good is really to contain and retain all the others, 
it can hardly be anything but their totality — the 
infinite history of experience viewed under the 
form of eternity. At that remove, however, the 
least in the kingdom of Heaven is even as the 
greatest, and the idea of evolution, as of time, is 

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" taken up into a higher unity." There could be 
no real pre-eminence in one man's works over 
those of another; and if faith, or insight into the 
equal service done by all, still seemed a substan- 
tial privilege reserved for the elect, this privilege, 
too, must be an illusion, since those who do not 
know how useful and necessary they are must be 
as useful and necessary as those who do. An 
absolute preference for knowledge or self-con- 
sciousness would be an unmistakably human and 
finite ideal — something to be outgrown. 

What practically survives in these systems, 
when their mysticism and naturalism have had 

time to settle, is a clear enough Stand- 
Megalomania. ^ n ^ ft gtaJldard of inc l mion 

and quantity. Since all is needful, and the jus- 
tifying whole is infinite, there would seem to be 
a greater dignity in the larger part. As the best 
copy of a picture, other things being equal, would 
be one that represented it all, so the best expres- 
sion of the world, next to the world itself, would 
be the largest portion of it any one could absorb. 
Progress would then mean annexation. Growth 
would not come by expressing better an innate 
soul which involved a particular ideal, but by as- 
similating more and more external things till the 
original soul, by their influence, was wholly recast 
and unrecognisable. This moral agility would be 
true merit; we should always be " striving on- 
ward." Life would be a sort of demonic vortex, 
boiling at the centre and omnivorous at the cir- 

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cumference, till it finally realised the supreme 
vocation of vortices, to have " their centre every- 
where and their circumference nowhere." This 
somewhat troubled situation might seem sublime 
to us, transformed as we too should be; and so 
we might reach the most remarkable and doubt- 
less the " highest" form of optimism— optimism 
in hell. 

Confusing as these cross-currents and revulsions 
may prove in the field where mechanism is more 

Chaos in the 0r ^ eSS a * ^ ome > ™- t^ e &&& °' mate- 
theory of rial operations, they are nothing to the 
"""^ primeval chaos that still broods over 

the other hemisphere, over the mental phase of 
existence. The difficulty is not merely that no 
mechanism is discovered or acknowledged here, 
but that the phenomena themselves are ambigu- 
ous, and no one seems to know when he speaks of 
mind whether he means something formal and 
ideal, like Platonic essences and mathematical 
truths, or reflection and intelligence, or sensation 
possessing external causes and objects, or finally 
that ultimate immediacy or brute actuality which 
is characteristic of any existence. Other even 
vaguer notions are doubtless often designated by 
the word psychical; but these may suffice for us 
to recognise the initial dilemmas in the subject 
and the futility of trying to build a science of 
mind, or defining the relation of mind to matter, 
when it is not settled whether mind means the 
form of matter, as with the Platonists, or the 

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effect of it, as with the materialists, or the seat 
and false knowledge of it, as with the transcen- 
dentalism, or perhaps after all, as with the pan- 
psychists, mind means exactly matter itself.* 

To see how equivocal everything is in this re- 
gion, and possibly to catch some glimpse of what- 
ever science or sciences might some day define it, 
we may revert for a moment to the origin of 
human notions concerning the mind. If either 

* The monads of Leibniz could justly be called minds, be- 
cause they had a dramatic destiny, and the most complex 
experience imaginable was the state of but one monad, not an 
aggregate view or effect of a multitude in fusion. But the re- 
cent improvements on that system take the latter turn. 
Mind-stuff, or the material of mind, is supposed to be con- 
tained in large quantities within any known feeling. Mind- 
stuff, we are given to understand, is diffused in a medium cor- 
responding to apparent space (what else would a real space 
be?) ; it forms quantitative aggregates, its transformations or 
aggregations are mechanically governed, it endures when per- 
sonal consciousness perishes, it is the substance of bodies and, 
when duly organised, the potentiality of thought. One might ¥ 
go far for a better description of matter. That any material 
must be material might have been taken for an axiom ; but our 
idealists, in their eagerness to show that OefueKL tit AUea, have 
thought to do honour to feeling by forgetting that it is an ex- 
pression and wishing to make it a stuff. 

There is a further circumstance showing that mind-stuff is 
but a bashful name for matter. Mind-stuff, like matter, can 
be only an element in any actual being. To make a thing or a 
thought out of mind-stuff you have to rely on the system into 
which that material has fallen; the substantive ingredients, 
from which an actual being borrows its intensive quality, do ' 
not contain its individuating form. This form depends on 
ideal relations subsisting between the ingredients, relations 
which are not feelings but can be rendered only by proposi- 

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everything or nothing that men came upon in their 
primitive day-dream had been continuous in its 
own category and traceable through the labyrinth 
of the world, no mind and no self -consciousness 
Origin of self- nee ^ ever have appeared at all. The 
consciousness, world might have been as magical as 
it pleased; it would have remained single, one 
budding sequence of forms with no transmissible 
substance beneath them. These forms might have 
had properties we now call physical and at the 
same time qualities we now call mental or emo- 
tional; there is nothing originally incongruous in 
such a mixture, chaotic and perverse as it may 
seem from the vantage-ground of subsequent dis- 
tinctions. Existence might as easily have had any 
other form whatsoever as the one we discover it 
to have in fact. And primitive men, not having 
read Descartes, and not having even distinguished 
their waking from their dreaming life nor their 
passions from their environment, might well stand 
in the presence of facts that seem to us full of 
inward incongruity and contradiction; indeed, it 
is only because original data were of that chaotic 
sort that we call ourselves intelligent for having 
disentangled them and assigned them to distinct 
sequences and alternative spheres. 

The ambiguities and hesitations of theory, down 
to our own day, are not all artificial or introduced 
gratuitously by sophists. Even where prejudice 
obstructs progress, that prejudice itself has some 
ancient and ingenuous source. Our perplexities 

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are traces of a primitive total confusion; our 
doubts are remnants of a quite gaping ignorance. 
It was impossible to say whether the phantasms 
that first crossed this earthly scene were merely 
instinct with passion or were veritable passions 
stalking through space. Material and mental ele- 
ments, connections natural and dialectical, ex- 
isted mingled in that chaos. Light was as yet 
inseparable from inward vitality and pain drew a 
visible cloud across the sky. Civilised life is that 
early dream partly clarified; science is that dense 
mythology partly challenged and straightened 

The flux, however, was meantime full of 
method, if only discrimination and enlarged ex- 
perience could have managed to divine it. Its 
inconstancy, for one thing, was not so entire that 
no objects could be fixed within it, or marshalled 
in groups, like the birds that flock together. 
Animals could be readily distinguished from the 
things about them, their rate of mobility being 
so much quicker; and one animal in particular 
would at once be singled out, a more constant fol- 
lower than any dog, and one whose energies were 
not merely felt but often spontaneously exerted — 
a phenomenon which appeared in no other part of 
the world. This singular animal every one called 
himself. One object was thus discovered to be 
the vehicle for perceiving and affecting all the 
others, a movable seat or tower from which the 
world might be surveyed. 

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The external influences to which this body, with 
The notion of ** 8 discoursing mind, seemed to be sub- 
■tfrit. ject were by no means all visible and 

material. Just as one's own body was moved by 
passions and thoughts which no one else could 
see — and this secrecy was a subject for much 
wonder and self -congratulation — so evidently other 
things had a spirit within or above them to endow 
them with wit and power. It was not so much 
to contain sensation that this spirit was needed 
(for the body could very well feel) as to contrive 
plans of action and discharge sudden force into 
the world on momentous occasions. How deep- 
drawn, how far-reaching, this spirit might be was 
not easily determined; but it seemed to have un- 
accountable ways and to come and go from distant 
habitations. Things past, for instance, were still 
open to its inspection; the mind was not credited 
with constructing a fresh image of the past which 
might more or less resemble that past; a ray of 
supernatural light, rather, sometimes could pierce 
to the past itself and revisit its unchangeable 
depths. The future, though more rarely, was 
open to spirit in exactly the same fashion; destiny 
could on occasion be observed. Things distant 
and preternatural were similarly seen in dreams. 
There could be no doubt that all those objects 
existed; the only question was where they might 
lie and in what manner they might operate. A 
vision was a visitation and a dream was a journey. 
The spirit was a great traveller, and just as it 

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could dart in every direction over both space and 
time, so it could come thence into a man's pres- 
ence or even into his body, to take possession of 
it. Sense and fancy, in a word, had not been dis- 
tinguished. As to be aware of vision is a great 
sign of imagination, so to be aware of imagination 
is a great sign of understanding. 

The spirit had other prerogatives, of a more 
rational sort. The truth, the right were also 
spirits; for though often invisible and denied by 
men, they could emerge at times from their in- 
visible lairs to deal some quick blow and vindi- 
cate their divinity. The intermittance proper to 
phenomena is universal and extreme; only the 
familiar conception of nature, in which the flux 
becomes continuous, now blinds us in part to that 
fact. But before the days of scientific thinking 
only those things which were found unchanged 
and which seemed to lie passive were conceived 
to have had in the interval a material existence. 
More stirring apparitions, instead of being re- 
ferred to their material constituents and continu- 
ous basis in nature, were referred to spirit. We 
still say, for instance, that war comes on. That 
phrase would once have been understood literally. 
War, being something intermittent, must exist 
somehow unseen in the interval, else it would not 
return; that rage, so people would have fancied, is 
therefore a spirit, it is a god. Mars and Ares long 
survived the phase of thought to which they owed 
their divinity; and believers had to rely on habit 

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and the witness of antiquity to support their irra- 
tional faith. They little thought how absolutely 
simple and inevitable had been the grammar by 
which those figures, since grown rhetorical, had 
been first imposed upon the world. 

Another complication soon came to increase 
this confusion. When material objects were dis- 
The notion covered and it became clear that they 
of sense. h a <l comparatively fixed natures, it 

also became clear that with the motions of one's 
body all other things seemed to vary in ways which 
did not amount to a permanent or real meta- 
morphosis in them; for these things might be 
found again unchanged. Objects, for instance, 
seemed to grow smaller when we receded from 
them, though really, as we discovered by ap- 
proaching and measuring them anew, they had 
remained unchanged. These private aspects or 
views of things were accordingly distinguished 
from the things themselves, which were lodged in 
an intelligible sphere, raised above anybody's sen- 
sibility and existing independently. The variable 
aspects were due to the body; they accompanied 
its variations and depended on its presence and 
organs. They were conceived vaguely to exist in 
one's head or, if they were emotional, in one's 
heart; but anatomy would have had some diffi- 
culty in finding them there. They constituted 
what is properly called the mind — the region of 
sentience, emotion, and soliloquy. 

The mind was the region where those aspects 

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which real things present to the body might live 
and congregate. So understood, it was avowedly 
and from the beginning a realm of mere appear- 
ance and depended entirely on the body. It 
should be observed, however, that the limbo of 
divine and ideal things, which is sometimes also 
called the mind, is very far from depending ob- 
viously on the body and is said to do so only by 
a late school of psychological sceptics. To primi- 
tive apprehension spirit, with its ideal preroga- 
tives, was something magical and oracular. Its 
prophetic intuitions were far from being more 
trivial than material appearances. On the con- 
trary those intuitions were momentous and in- 
spiring. Their scope was indefinite and their 
value incalculable in every sense of the word. 
The disembodied spirit might well be immortal, 
since absent and dead things were familiar to it. 
It was by nature present wherever truth and 
reality might be found. It was prophetic; the 
dreams it fell into were full of auguries and secret 
affinities with things to come. Myth and legend, 
hatched in its womb, were felt to be divinely in- 
spired, and genius seemed to be the Muses' voice 
heard in a profound abstraction, when vulgar per- 
ception yielded to some kind of clairvoyance hav- 
ing a higher authority than sense. Such a spirit 
might naturally be expected to pass into another 
world, since it already dwelt there at intervals, 
and brought thence its mysterious reports. Its 
incursions into the physical sphere alone seemed 

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miraculous and sent a thrill of awe through the 
unaccustomed flesh. 

The ideal element in the world was accordingly 
regarded at first as something sacred and terrify- 
Com ^ WoB ing. It was no vulgar presence or 
between the private product, and though its des- 
tmo ' tiny might be to pass half the time, 

like Persephone, under ground, it could not really 
be degraded. The human mind, on the other 
hand, the region of sentience and illusion, was a 
familiar affair enough. This familiarity, indeed, 
for a long time bred contempt and philosophers 
did not think the personal equation of individuals, 
or the refraction of things in sense, a very impor- 
tant or edifying subject for study. In time, how- 
ever, sentience had its revenge. As each man's 
whole experience is bound to his body no less than 
is the most trivial optical illusion, the sphere of 
sense is the transcendental ground or ratio cognos- 
centi of every other sphere. It suffices, there- 
fore, to make philosophy retrospective and to re- 
lax the practical and dogmatic stress under which 
the intellect operates, for all the discoveries made 
through experience to collapse into the experience 
in which they were made. A complete collapse 
of objects is indeed inconvenient, because it would 
leave no starting-point for reasoning and no faith 
in the significance of reason itself ; but partial col- 
lapses, now in the region of physics, now in that 
of logic and morals, are very easy and exciting 
feats for criticism to perform. 

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Passions when abstracted from their bodily 
causes and values when removed from their ob- 
jects will naturally fall into the body's mind, and 
be allied with appearances. Shrewd people will 
bethink themselves to attribute almost all the 
body's acts to some preparatory intention or mo- 
tive in its mind, and thus attain what they think 
knowledge of human nature. They will encour- 
age themselves to live among dramatic fictions, as 
when absorbed in a novel; and having made them- 
selves at home in this upper story of their uni- 
verse, they will find it amusing to deny that it 
has a ground floor. The chance of conceiving, by 
these partial reversals of science, a world com- 
posed entirely without troublesome machinery is 
too tempting not to be taken up, whatever the 
ulterior risks ; and accordingly, when once psycho- 
logical criticism is put in play, the sphere of 
sense will be enlarged at the expense of the two 
rational worlds, the material and the ideal. 

Consciousness, thus qualified by all the sen- 
sible qualities of things, will exercise an irresist- 
Therfaeof *ble attraction over the supernatural 
scepticism. xn& ideal realm, so that all the gods, 
all truths, and all ideals, as they have no place 
among the sufficing causes of experience, will be 
identified with decaying sensations. And pres- 
ently those supposed causes themselves will be re- 
traced and drawn back into the immediate vortex, 
until the sceptic has packed away nature, with 
all space and time, into the sphere of sensuous 

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illusion, the distinguishing characteristic of which 
was that it changed with the changes in the 
human body. The personal idealists will declare 
that all body is a part of some body's mind. Thus, 
by a curious reversion, the progress of reflection 
has led to hopeless contradictions. Sense, which 
was discovered by observing the refraction and 
intermittence to which appearances were subject, 
in seeming to be quite different from what things 
were, now tries to subsist when the things it was 
essentially contrasted with have been abolished. 
The intellect becomes a Penelope, whose secret 
pleasure lies in undoing its ostensible work; and 
science, becoming pensive, loves to relapse into the 
dumb actuality and nerveless reverie from which 
it had once extricated a world. 

The occasion for this sophistication is worth 
noting; for if we follow the thread which we have 
trailed behind us in entering the labyrinth we 
shall be able at any moment to get out ; especially 
as the omnivorous monster lurking in its depths 
is altogether harmless. A moral and truly trans- 
cendental critique of science, as of common sense, 
is never out of place, since all such a critique does 
is to assign to each conception or discovery its 
place and importance in the Life of Season. So 
administered, the critical cathartic will not prove 
a poison and will not inhibit the cognitive func- 
tion it was meant to purge. Every belief will sub- 
sist that finds an empirical and logical warrant; 
while that a belief is a belief and not a sensation 

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will not seem a ground for not entertaining it, 
nor for subordinating it to some gratuitous assur- 
ance. But a psychological criticism, if it is not 
critical of psychology itself, and thinks to substi- 
tute a science of absolute sentience for physics and 
dialectic, would rest on sophistry and end wholly 
in bewilderment. The subject-matter of an abso- 
lute psychology would vanish in its hands, since 
there is no sentience which is not at once the effect 
of something physical and the appearance of some- 
thing ideal. A calculus of feelings, uninter- 
preted and referred to nothing ulterior, would fur- 
nish no alternative system to substitute for the 
positive sciences it was seeking to dislodge. In 
fact, those who call ordinary objects unreal do 
not, on that account, find anything else to think 
about. Their exorcism does not lay the ghost, and 
they are limited to addressing it in uncivil lan- 
guage. It was not idly that reason in the begin- 
ning excogitated a natural and an ideal world, a 
labour it might well have avoided if appearance 
as it stands made a thinkable or a practical 

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If psychology is a science, many things that 
books of psychology contain should be excluded 
Mind leading from it. One is social imagination, 
not science. Nature, besides having a mechanical 
form and wearing a garment of sensible qualities, 
makes a certain inner music in the beholder's 
mind, inciting him to enter into other bodies and 
to fancy the new and profound life which he 
might lead there. Who, as he watched a cat 
basking in the sun, has not passed into that vigi- 
lant eye and felt all the leaps potential in that 
luxurious torpor? Who has not attributed some 
little romance to the passer-by? Who has not 
sometimes exchanged places even with things in- 
animate, and drawn some new moral experience 
from following the movement of stars or of daffo- 
dils? All this is idle musing or at best poetry; 
yet our ordinary knowledge of what goes on in 
men's minds is made of no other stuff. True, wje 
have our own mind to go by, which presumably 
might be a fair sample of what men's minds are; 
but unfortunately our notion of ourselves is of 
all notions the most biassed and idealistic. If 

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we attributed to other men only such obvious 
reasoning, sound judgment, just preferences, 
honest passions, and blameless errors as we dis- 
cover in ourselves, we should take but an insipid 
and impractical view of mankind. 

In fact, we do far better: for what we impute 
to our fellow-men is suggested by their conduct 
or by an instant imitation of their gesture and 
expression. These manifestations, striking us in 
all their novelty and alien habit, and affecting 
our interests in all manner of awkward ways, cre- 
ate a notion of our friends' natures which is ex- 
tremely vivid and seldom extremely flattering. 

Such romancing has the cogency proper to 
dramatic poetry; it is persuasive only over the 
third person, who has never had, but has always 
been about to have, the experience in question. 
Drawn from the potential in one's self, it describes 
at best the possible in others. The thoughts of 
men are incredibly evanescent, merely the foam 
of their labouring natures; and they doubtless 
vary much more than our trite classifications 
allow for. This is what makes passions and fash- 
ions, religions and philosophies, so hard to con- 
ceive when once the trick of them is a little anti- 
quated. Languages are hardly more foreign to one 
another than are the thoughts uttered in them. 
We should give men credit for originality at least 
in their dreams, even if they have little of it to 
show elsewhere; and as it was discovered but re- 
cently that all memories are not furnished with 

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the like material images, but often have no ma- 
terial images whatever, so it may have to be 
acknowledged that the disparity in men's solilo- 
quies is enormous, and that some races, perhaps, 
live content without soliloquising. at all. 

Nevertheless, in describing what happens, or 
in enforcing a given view of things, we constantly 
Experience a refer to universal experience as if 
reconstruction, everybody was agreed about what uni- 
versal experience is and had personally gathered 
it all since the days of Adam. In fact, each man 
has only his own, the remnant saved from his 
personal acquisitions. On the basis of this his 
residual endowment, he has to conceive all na- 
ture, with whatever experiences may have fallen 
there to the lot of others. Universal experience 
is a comfortable fiction, a distinctly ideal con- 
struction, and no fund available for any one to 
draw from; which of course is not to deny that 
tradition and books, in transmitting materially 
the work of other generations, tend to assimilate 
us also to their mind. The result of their la- 
bours, in language, learning, and institutions, 
forms a hothouse in which to force our seedling 
fancy to a rational growth; but the influence is 
physical, the environment is material, and its 
ideal background or significance has to be in- 
ferred by us anew, according to our imaginative 
faculty and habits. Past experience, apart from 
its monuments, is fled for ever out of mortal 
reach. It is now a parcel of the motionless ether, 

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of the ineffectual truth ahout what once was. To 
know it we must evoke it within ourselves, start- 
ing from its inadequate expressions still extant 
in the world. This reconstruction is highly spec- 
ulative and, as Spinoza noted, better evidence of 
what we are than of what other men have been. 
When we appeal to general experience, then, 
what we really have to deal with is our interlocu- 
tor's power of imagining that experi- 
artofeduca- ence; for the real experience is dead 
tion - and ascended into heaven, where it can 

neither answer nor hear. Our agreements or diver- 
gences in this region do not touch science; they 
concern only friendship and unanimity. All our 
proofs are, as they say in Spain, pure conversa- 
tion; and as the purpose and best result can be 
only to kindle intelligence and propagate an ideal 
art, the method should be Socratic, genial, liter- 
ary. In these matters, the alternative to imag- 
ination is not science but sophistry. We may 
perhaps entangle our friends in their own words, 
and force them for the moment to say what they 
do not mean, and what it is not in their natures 
to think; but the bent bow will spring back, per- 
haps somewhat sharply, and we shall get little 
thanks for our labour. There would be more 
profit in taking one another frankly by the hand 
and walking together along the outskirts of real 
knowledge, pointing to the material facts which 
we all can see, nature, the monuments, the texts, 
the actual ways and institutions of men; and in 

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the presence of such a stimulus, with the con- 
tagion of a common interest, the plastic mind 
would respond of itself to the situation, and we 
should be helping one another to understand 
whatever lies within the range of our fancy, be 
it in antiquity or in the human heart. That 
would be a true education; and while the result 
could not possibly be a science, not even a sci- 
ence of people's states of mind, it would be a 
deepening of humanity in ourselves and a whole- 
some knowledge of our ignorance. 

In what is called psychology this loose, imag- 
inative method is often pursued, although the 
field covered may be far narrower. Any generic 
experience of which a writer pretends to give an 
exact account must be reconstructed ad hoc; it is 
not the experience that necessitates the descrip- 
tion, but the description that recalls the experi- 
ence, defining it in a novel way. When La 
Rochefoucauld says, for instance, that there is 
ArWtr something about our friend's troubles 

readings of that secretly pleases us, many circum- 
themind. stances in our own lives, or in other 
people's, may suddenly recur to us to illustrate 
that apergu; and we may be tempted to say, There 
is a truth. But is it a scientific truth? Or is it 
merely a bit of satire, a ray from a literary flash- 
light, giving a partial clearness for a moment to 
certain jumbled memories? If the next day we 
open a volume of Adam Smith, and read that man 
is naturally benevolent, that he cannot but enact 

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and share the vicissitudes of his fellow-creatures, 
and that another man's imminent danger or vis- 
ible torment will cause in him a distress little in- 
ferior to that felt by the unfortunate sufferer, we 
shall probably think this a truth also, and a more 
normal and a profounder truth than the other. 
But is it a law? Is it a scientific discovery that 
can lead us to definite inferences about what will 
happen or help us to decompose a single event, 
accurately and without ambiguity, into its com- 
ponent forces ? Not only is such a thing impos- 
sible, but the Scotch philosopher's amiable gener- 
alities, perhaps largely applicable to himself and 
to his friends of the eighteenth century, may fail 
altogether to fit an earlier or a later age ; and every 
new shade of brute born into the world will ground 
a new " theory of the moral sentiments." 

The whole cogency of such psychology, there- 
fore, lies in the ease with which the hearer, on 
listening to the analysis, recasts something in his 
own past after that fashion. These endless rival 
apperceptions regard facts that, until they are re- 
ferred to their mechanical ground, show no con- 
tinuity and no precision in their march. The 
apperception of them, consequently, must be 
doubly arbitrary and unstable, for there is no 
method in the subject-matter and there is less in 
the treatment of it. The views, however, are far 
from equal in value. Some may be more natural, 
eloquent, enlightening, than others; they may 
serve better the essential purpose of reflection, 

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(which is to pick out and bring forward contin- 
ually out of the past what can have a value for 
the present. The spiritual life in which this 
value lies is practical in its associations, because 
^ it understands and dominates what touches action ; 
yet it is contemplative in essence, since successful 
f action consists in knowing what you are attempt- 
l ing and in attempting what you can find yourself 
I achieving. t Plan and performance will alike ap- 
peal to imagination and be appreciated through 
it; so that what trains imagination refines the 
very stuff that life is made of. Science is instru- 
mental in comparison, since the chief advantage 
that comes of knowing accurately is to be able, 
with safety, to imagine freely. But when it is 
science and accurate knowledge that we pursue, 
we should not be satisfied with literature. 

When discourse on any subject would be per- 
suasive, it appeals to the interlocutor to think in 
a certain dynamic fashion, inciting 
appealed to him, n °t without leading questions, to 
rather than gi ve shape to his own sentiments. 
Knowledge of the soul, insight into 
human nature and experience, are no doubt re- 
quisite in such an exercise; yet this insight. is in 
these cases a vehicle only, an instinctive method, 
while the result aimed at is agreement on some 
further matter, conviction and enthusiasm, rather 
than psychological information. Thus if I de- 
clare that the storms of winter are not so unkind 
as benefits forgot, I say something which if true 

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has a certain psychological value, for it could be 
inferred from that assertion that resentment is 
generally not proportionate to the injury received 
but rather to the surprise caused, so that it springs] 
from our own foolishness more than from other ( 
people's bad conduct. Yet my observation was not 
made in the interest of any such inferences: it 
was made to express an emotion of my own, in 
hopes of kindling in others a similar emotion. It 
was a judgment which others were invited to 
share. There was as little exact science about it 
as if I had turned it into frank poetry and ex- 
claimed, "Blow, blow, thou winter's wind!" 
Knowledge of human nature might be drawn even 
from that apostrophe, and a very fine shade of 
human feeling is surely expressed in it, as Shake- 
speare utters it; but to pray or to converse is/ 
not for that reason the same thing as to pursue/ 

Now it constantly happens in philosophic writ- 
ing that what is supposed to go on in the human 
mind is described and appealed to in order to sup- 
port some observation or illustrate some argument 
— as continually, for instance, in the older Eng- 
lish critics of human nature, or in these very 
pages. What is offered in such cases is merely an ^ 
invitation to think after a certain fashion. A 
way of grasping or interpreting some fact is sug- 
gested, with a more or less civil challenge to the 
reader to resist the suasion of his own experience 
so evoked and represented. Such a method of 

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appeal may be called psychological, in the sense 
that it relies for success on the total movement 
of the reader's life and mind, without forcing a 
detailed assent through ocular demonstration or 
pure dialectic; but the psychology of it is a 
method and a resource rather than a doctrine. 
The only doctrine aimed at in such philosophy 
is a general reasonableness, a habit of thinking 
straight from the elements of experience to its 
/ultimate and stable deliverance. This is what in 
his way a poet or a novelist would do. Fiction 
swarms with such sketches of human nature and 
such renderings of the human mind as a critical 
philosopher depends upon for his construction. 
He need not be interested in the pathology of 
individuals nor even in the natural history of 
man; his effort is wholly directed toward improv- 
ing the mind's economy and infusing reason into 
it as one might religion, not without diligent 
self-examination and a public confession of sin. 
The human mind is nobody's mind in particular, 
and the science of it is necessarily imaginative. 
No one can pretend in philosophic discussion any 
more than in poetry that the experience described 
is more than typical. It is given out not for a 
literal fact, existing in particular moments or 
persons, but for an imaginative expression of what 
nature and life have impressed on the speaker. In 
so far as others live in the same world they may 
recognise the experience so expressed by him and 
adopt his interpretation; but the aptness of his 

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descriptions and analyses will not constitute a sci- 
ence of mental states, but rather — what is a far 
greater thing — the art of stimulating and consoli- 
dating reflection in general. 

There is a second constituent of current psy- 
chology which is indeed a science, but not a sci- 
Diaiecticin ence °' matters of fact — I mean the 
psychology. dialectic of ideas. The character of 
father, for example, implies a son, and this rela- 
tion, involved in the ideas both of son and of 
father, implies further that a transmitted essence 
or human nature is shared by both. Every idea, 
if its logical texture is reflected upon, will opeji 
out into a curious world constituted by distin- 
guishing the constituents of that idea more clearly 
and making explicit its implicit structure and re- 
lations. When an idea has practical intent and 
is a desire, its dialectic is even more remarkable. 
If I love a man I thereby love all those who share 
whatever makes me love him, and I thereby hate 
whatever tends to deprive him of this excellence. 
If it should happen, however, that those who re- 
sembled him most in amiability — say by flattering 
me no less than he did — were precisely his mortal 
enemies, the logic of my affections would become 
somewhat involved. I might end either by striv- 
ing to reconcile the rivals or by discovering that 
what I loved was not the man at all, but only an 
office exercised by him in my regard which any 
one else might also exercise. 

These inner lucubrations, however, while they 

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lengthen the moment's vista and deepen present 
intent, give no indication whatever about the 
order or distribution of actual feelings. They are 
out of place in a psychology that means to be an 
account of what happens in the world. For these 
dialectical implications do not actually work them- 
selves out. They have no historical or dynamic 
value. The man that by mistake or courtesy I 
call a father may really have no son, any more 
than Herodotus for being the father of history; 
or having had a son, he may have lost him ; or the 
creature sprung from his loins may be a misshapen 
idiot, having nothing ideal in common with his 
parent. Similar^ my. affection for a fejiend, hav- 
ing causes much deeper than discourse, may cling 
to him through all transformations in his quali- 
ties and in his attitude toward me; and it may 
never pass to others for resembling him, nor take, 
in all its days, a Platonic direction. The impulse 
on which that dialectic was based may exhaust 
its physical en&fj^fihd* Ml* its- implications may 
be nipped in the bud and be condemned for ever 
to the limbo of things unborn. 

Spinoza's account of the passions is a beauti- 
ful example of dialectical psychology, beautiful 
Spinoza on because it shows so clearly the possi- 
the pontons, bilities and impossibilities in such a 
method. Spinoza began with self-preservation, 
which was to be the principle of life and the root 
of all feelings. The violence done to physics ap- 
pears in this beginning. Self-preservation, taken 

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strictly, is a principle not illustrated in nature, 
where everything is in flux, and where habits de- 
structive or dangerous to the body are as conspicu- 
ous as protective instincts. Physical mechanism 
requires reproduction, which implies death, and it 
admits suicide. Spinoza himself, far too noble a 
mind to be fixed solely on preserving its own ex- 
istence, was compelled to give self-preservation an 
extravagant meaning in order to identify it with 
" intellectual love of God " or the happy contem- 
plation of that natural law which destroyed all 
individuals. To find the self -preserving man you 
must take him after he has ceased to grow and 
before he has begun to love. Self-preservation, 
being thus no principle of natural history, the 
facts or estimations classed under that head need 
to be referred instead to one of two other prin- 
ciples — either to mechanical equilibrium and 
habit, or to dialectical consistency in judgment. 
Self-preservation might express, perhaps, the 
values which conceived events acquire in respect 
to a given attitude of will, to an arrested momen- 
tary ideal. The actual state of any animal, his 
given instincts and tensions, are undoubtedly the 
point of origin from which all changes and rela- 
tions are morally estimated; and if this attitude 
is afterward itself subjected to estimation, that 
occurs by virtue of its affinity or conflict with the 
living will of another moment. Valuation is dia- 
lectical, not descriptive, nor contemplative of a 
natural process. It might accordingly be devel- 

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oped by seeing what is implied in the self- 
preservation, or rather expression, of a will which 
by that dialectic would discover its ideal scope. 

Such a principle, however, could never explain 
the lapse of that attitude itself. A natural process 
cannot be governed by the ideal relations which 
conceived things acquire by being represented in 
one of its moments. Spinoza, however, let him- 
self wander into this path and made the sem- 
blance of an attempt, indeed not very deceptive, to 
trace the sequence of feelings by their mutual im- 
plication. The changes in life were to be ex- 
plained by what the crystallised posture of life 
might be at a single instant. The arrow's flight 
was to be deduced from its instantaneous position. 
A passion's history was to be the history of what 
would have been its expression if it had had no 
history at all. 

A man suffered by destiny to maintain for 

ever a single unchanged emotion might indeed 

think out its multifarious implications 

much in Spinoza's way. It is in that 

cannot govern fashion that parties and sects, when 
e¥ * a somewhat stable, come to define their 

affinities and to know their friends and enemies 
all over the universe of discourse. Suppose, for 
instance, that I feel some titillation on reading a 
proposition concerning the contrast between Paul's 
idea of Peter and Peter's idea of himself, a titilla- 
tion which is accompanied by the idea of Spinoza, 
its external cause. Now he who loves an effect 

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must proportionately love its cause, and titilla- 
tion accompanied by the idea of its external cause 
is, Spinoza has proved, what men call love. I 
therefore find that I love Spinoza. Having got 
so far, I may consider further, referring to another 
demonstration in the book, that if some one gives 
Spinoza joy — Hobbes, for instance — my delight in 
Spinoza's increased perfection, consequent upon 
his joy and my love of him, accompanied by the 
idea of Hobbes, its external cause, constitutes love 
on my part for the redoubtable Hobbes as well. 
Thus the periphery of my affections may expand 
indefinitely, till it includes the infinite, the ulti- 
mate external cause of all my titillations. But 
how these interesting discoveries are interrupted 
before long by a desire for food, or by an indomi- 
table sense that Hobbes and the infinite are things 
I do not love, is something that my dialectic can- 
not deduce; for it was the values radiating from 
a given impulse, the implications of its instant 
object, that were being explicated, not at all the 
natural forces that carry a man through that im- 
pulse and beyond it to the next phase of his 
dream, a phase which if it continues the former 
episode must continue it spontaneously, by grace 
of mechanical forces. 

When dialectic is thus introduced into psychol- 
ogy, an intensive knowledge of the heart is given 
out for distributive knowledge of events. Such a 
study, when made by a man of genius, may fur- 
nish good spiritual reading, for it will reveal what 

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our passions mean and what sentiments they would 
lead to if they could remain fixed and dictate all 
further action. This insight may make us aware 
of strange inconsistencies in our souls, and seeing 
how contrary some of our ideals are to others and 
how horrible, in some cases, would be their ulti- 
mate expression, we may be shocked into setting 
our house in order; and in trying to understand 
ourselves we may actually develop a self that can 
be understood. Meantime this inner discipline 
will not enlighten us about the march of affairs. 
It will not give us a key to evolution, either in 
ourselves or in others. Even while we refine our 
aspirations, the ground they sprang from will be 
eaten away beneath our feet. Instead of develop- 
ing yesterday's passion, to-day may breed quite 
another in its place; and if, having grown old and 
set in our mental posture, we are incapable of as- 
suming another, and are condemned to carrying 
on the dialectic of our early visions into a new- 
born world, to be a schoolmaster's measuring-rod 
for life's infinite exuberance, we shall find our- 
selves at once in a foreign country, speaking a 
language that nobody understands. No destiny 
is more melancholy than that of the dialectical 
prophet, who makes more rigid and tyrannous 
every day a message which every day grows less 
applicable and less significant. 

That remaining portion of psychology which is 
a science, and a science of matters of fact, is 
physiological; it belongs to natural history and 

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constitutes the biology of man. Soul, which was 
not originally distinguished from life, is there 

studied in its natural operation in the 
psychology a b°dy and in the world. Psychology 
J*** of then remains what it was in Aristotle's 

De Anima — an ill-developed branch 
of natural science, pieced out with literary terms 
and perhaps enriched by occasional dramatic in- 
terpretations. The specifically mental or psychic 
element consists in the feeling which accompanies 
bodily states and natural situations. This feeling 
is discovered and distributed at the same time 
that bodies and other material objects are de- 
fined; for when a man begins to decipher perma- 
nent and real things, and to understand that they 
are merely material, he thereby sets apart, in 
contrast with such external objects, those images 
and emotions which can no longer enter into the 
things' texture. The images and emotions re- 
main, however, attached to those things, for they 
are refractions of them through bodily organs, or 
effects of their presence on the will, or passions 
fixed upon them as their object. 

In parts of biology which do not deal with man 
observers do not hesitate to refer in the same way 
to the pain, the desire, the intention, which they - 
may occasionally read in an animal's aspect. Dar- 
win, for instance, constantly uses psychical lan- 
guage: his birds love one another's plumage and 
their aesthetic charms are factors in natural selec- 
tion. Such little fables do not detract from the 

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scientific value of Darwin's observations, because 
we see at once what the fables mean. The de- 
scription keeps close enough to the facts observed 
for the reader to stop at the latter, rather than 
at the language in which they are stated. In the 
natural history of man such interpretation into 
mental terms, such microscopic romance, is even 
easier and more legitimate, because language al- 
lows people, perhaps before their feelings are 
long past, to describe them in terms which are un- 
derstood to refer directly to mental experience. 
The sign's familiarity, to be sure, often hides in 
these cases a great vagueness and unseizableness 
in the facts ; yet a beginning in defining distinctly 
the mental phase of natural situations has been 
made in those small autobiographies which intro- 
spective writers sometimes compose, or which are 
taken down in hospitals and laboratories from the 
lips of "subjects." What a man under special 
conditions may say he feels or thinks adds a con- 
stituent phase to his natural history; and were 
these reports exact and extended enough, it would 
become possible to enumerate the precise sensations 
and ideas which accompany every state of body 
and every social situation. 

This advantage, however, is the source of that 
Confused at- confusion and sophistry which distin- 
tempt to de- guish the biology of man from the rest 
psychic of physics. Attention is there ar- 

eiement rested at the mental term, in forget- 

fulness of the situation which gave it warrant, 

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and an invisible world, composed of these im-. 
agined experiences, begins to stalk behind nature 
and may even be thought to exist independently. 
This metaphysical dream may be said to have two 
stages: the systematic one, which is called ideal- 
ism, and an incidental one which pervades ordi- 
nary psychology, in so far as mental facts are 
uprooted from their basis and deprived of their 
expressive or spiritual character, in order to be 
made elements in a dynamic scheme. This battle 
of feelings, whether with atoms or exclusively 
with their own cohorts, might be called a primi- 
tive materialism, rather than an idealism, if 
idealism were to retain its Platonic sense; for 
forms and realisations are taken in this system 
for substantial elements, and are made to figure 
either as a part or as the whole of the world's 

Phenomena specifically mental certainly exist, 
since natural phenomena and ideal truths are 
concentrated and telescoped in apprehension, be- 
sides being weighted with an emotion due to their 
effect on the person who perceives them. This , 
variation, which reality suffers in being re- 
ported to perception, turns the report into a men- 
tal fact distinguishable from its subject-matter. 
Differentia of When the flux is partly understood 
thejwychk. and the natural world has become a 
constant presence, the whole flux itself, as it 
flowed originally, comes to be called a mental 
flux, because its elements and method are seen to 

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differ from the elements and method embodied 
in material objects or in ideal truth. The primi- 
tive phenomena are now called mental because 
they all deviate from the realities to be ulti- 
• mately conceived. To call the immediate mental 
is therefore correct and inevitable when once the 
ultimate is in view; but if the immediate were 
all, to call it mental would be unmeaning. 

The visual image of a die, for instance, has at 
most three faces, none of them quite square; no 
hired artificer is needed to produce it; it cannot 
be found anywhere nor shaken in any box; it 
lasts only for an instant; thereafter it disappears 
without a trace — unless it flits back unaccount- 
ably through the memory — and it leaves no pon- 
derable dust or ashes to attest that it had a sub- 
stance. The opposite of all this is true of the 
die itself. But were no material die in existence, 
the image itself would be material; for, however 
evanescent, it would occupy space, have geomet- 
rical shape, colour, and magic dynamic destinies. 
Its transformations as it rolled on the idea of a 
table would be transformations in nature, how- 
ever unaccountable by any steady law. Such 
material qualities a mental fact can retain only 
in the spiritual form of representation. A rep- 
resentation of matter is immaterial, but a material 
image, when no object exists, is a material fact. 
If the Absolute, to take an ultimate case, per- 
ceived nothing but space and atoms (perceiving 
itself, if you will, therein), space and atoms would 

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be its whole nature, and it would constitute a 
perfect materialism. The fact that materialism , 
was true would not of itself constitute an ideal- . 
ism worth distinguishing from its opposite. For 
a vehicle or locus exists only when it makes some 
difference to the thing it carries, presenting it in 
a manner not essential to its own nature. 

The qualification of being by the mental me- 
dium may be carried to any length. As the sub- 
Approach to ject-matter recedes the mental datum 
irrelevant ceases to have much similarity or in- 
faatienc*. ward relevance to what is its cause or 
its meaning. The report may ultimately become, . 
like pure pain or pleasure, almost wholly blind 
and irrelevant to any world; yet such emotion is 
none the less immersed in matter and dependent 
on natural changes both for its origin and for its * 
function, since a significant pleasure or pain - 
makes comments on the world and involves ideals * 
about what ought to be happening there. 

Mental facts synchronise with their basis, for 
no thought hovers over a dead brain and there is 
no vision in a dark chamber; but their tenure of 
life is independent of that of their objects, since 
thought may be prophetic or reminiscent and is 
intermittent even when its object enjoys a con- 
tinuous existence. Mental facts are similar to 
their objects, since things and images have, in- 
trinsically regarded, the same constitution; but 
images do not move in the same plane with things 
and their parts are in no proportionate dynamic 

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relation to the parts of the latter. Thought's 

* place in nature is exiguous, however broad the 

* landscape it represents; it touches the world tan- 
% gentially only, in some ferment of the brain. It 
*is probably no atom that supports the soul (as 
% Leibnitz imagined), but rather some cloud of 

• atoms shaping or remodelling an organism. 
Mind in this case would be, in its physical rela- 
tion to matter, what it feels itself to be in its 

• moral attitude toward the same; a witness to mat- 
ter's interesting aspects and a realisation of its 

Mental facts, moreover, are highly selective; 
especially does this appear in respect to the dia- 
lectical world, which is in itself infinite, while the 
sum of human logic and mathematics, though too 
long for most men's patience, is decidedly brief. 
If we ask ourselves on what principle this selec- 
tion and foreshortening of truth takes place in the 
mind, we may perhaps come upon the real bond 
Perception an ^ ^ e deepest contrast between mind 
represents and its environment. The infinity of 
P^ticljrda^ formal truth is disregarded in human 
tion to the thought when it is irrelevant to prac- 
body * tice and to happiness; the infinity of 

nature is represented there in violent perspective, 
centring about the body and its interests. The 
seat and starting-point of every mental survey is 
a brief animal life. A mind seems, then, to be a 
consciousness of the body's interests, expressed in 
terms of what affects that body, as if in the Babel 

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of nature a man heard only the voices that pro- * 
nounced his name. A mind is a private view; it 
is gathered together in proportion as physical sen- 
sibility extends its range and makes one stretch 
of being after another tributary to the animal's 
life, and in proportion also as this sensibility is 
integrated, so that every organ in its reaction en- 
lists the resources of every other organ as well. 
A personal will and intelligence thus arise; and * 
they direct action from within with a force and » 
freedom which are exactly proportionate to the * 
material forces, within and without the body, % 
which the soul has come to represent. 

In other words, mind raises to an actual exis- 
tence that form in material processes which, had 
the processes remained wholly material, would 
have had only ideal or imputed being — as the stars 
would not have been divided into the signs of the 
Zodiac but for the fanciful eye of astrologers. 
Automata might arise and be destroyed without 
any value coming or going ; only a form-loving ob- * 
server could say that anything fortunate or tragic ' 
had occurred, as poets might at the budding or - 
withering of a flower. Some of nature's au- 
tomata, however, love themselves, and comment 
on the form they achieve or abandon; these con- 
stellations of atoms are genuine beasts. Their 
consciousness and their interest in their own 
individuality rescues that individuality from the 
realm of discourse and from having merely im- 
puted limits. 

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v That the basis of mind lies in the body's inter- 

* ests rather than in its atoms may seem a doctrine 
Mind the somewhat too poetical for psychology; 
existence in y e t ma y no t poetry, superposed on 
becomes material existence and supported by it, 
actuaL be perhaps the key to mind? Such 
a view hangs well together with the practical and 
prospective character of consciousness, with its to- 
tal dependence on the body, its cognitive relevance 
to the world, and its formal disparity from mate- 
rial being. Mind does not accompany body like 
a useless and persistent shadow; it is significant 
and it is intermittent. Much less can it be a 
link in physiological processes, processes irrele- 
vant to its intent and incompatible with its im- 
material essence. Consciousness seems to arise 
when the body assumes an attitude which, being 

• an attitude, supervenes upon the body's elements 
and cannot be contained within them. This atti- 
tude belongs to the whole body in its significant 
operation, and the report of this attitude, its ex- 
pression, requires survey, synthesis, appreciation — 
things which constitute what we call mentality. 
This remains, of course, the mentality of that 
material situation; it is the voice of that particu- 
lar body in that particular pass. The mind there- 
fore represents its basis, but this basis (being a 
form of material existence and not matter itself) 
is neither vainly reduplicated by representation 
nor used up materially in the process. 

Representation is far from idle, since it brings 

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to focus those mechanical unities which otherwise 
would have existed only potentially and at the 
option of a roving eye. In evoking consciousness 
nature makes this delimination real and unam- 
biguous; there are henceforth actual centres and 
actual interests in the mechanical flux. The flux 
continues to be mechanical, but the representation 
of it supervening has created values which, being 
due to imputation, could not exist without being 
imputed, while at the same time they could not 
have been imputed without being attached to one 
object or event rather than to another. Material 
dramas are thus made moral and raised to an ex- 
istence of their own by being expressed in what 
we call the souls of animals and men; a mind is 
the entelechy of an organic body.* It is a region 
where form breeds an existence to express it, and 
destiny becomes important by being felt. Mind 
adds to being a new and needful witness so soon 
as the constitution of being gives foothold to ap- 
perception of its movement, and offers something 
in which it is possible to ground an interest. 

That Aristotle has not been generally followed 
in views essentially so natural and pregnant as 
these is due no doubt to want of thoroughness in 
conceiving them, not only on the part of his read- 

* Aristotle called the soul the first entelechy of such a body. 
This first entelechy is what we should call life, since it is pos- 
sessed by a man asleep. The French I know but do not use is 
in its first entelechy; the French I am actually speaking is in its 
second. Consciousness is therefore the second or actualised 
entelechy of its body. 

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ers but even on his own part; for he treated the 
soul, which should be on his own theory only an 
expression and an unmoved mover, as a power and 
an efficient cause. Analysis had not gone far 
enough in his day to make evident that all dy- 
namic principles are mechanical and that mechan- 
ism can obtain only among objects; but by this 
time it should no longer seem, doubtful that men- 
tal facts can have no connection except through 
their material basis and no mutual relevance ex- 
cept through their objects. 

There is indeed a strange half-assumption 
afloat, a sort of reserved faith which every one 
Attempt at B^ma to respect but nobody utters, to 
idealistic the effect that the mental world has a 

physics. mechanism of its own, and that ideas 

intelligently produce and sustain one another. 
Systematic idealists, to be sure, have generally 
given a dialectical or moral texture to the cosmos, 
so that the passage from idea to idea in experi- 
ence need not be due, in their physics, to any in- 
trinsic or proportionate efficacy in these ideas 
themselves. The march of experience is not ex- 
plained at all by such high cosmogonies. They 
abandon that practical calculation to some science 
of illusion that has to be tolerated in this provis- 
ional life. Their own understanding is of things 
merely in the gross, because they fall in with some 
divine plan and produce, unaccountably enough, 
some interesting harmony. Empirical idealists, 
on the contrary, in making a metaphysics out of 

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psychology, hardly know what they do. The laws 
of experience which they refer to are all laws of 
physics. It is only the " possibilities " of sensa- 
tion that stand and change according to law; the 
sensations themselves, if not referred to those per- 
manent possibilities/ would be a chaos worse than 
any dream. 

Correct and scrupulous as empiricism may be 
when it turns its face backward and looks for the 
seat, the criterion, and the elements of knowledge, 
it is altogether incoherent and self -inhibited when 
it looks forward. It can believe in nothing but 
in what it conceives, if it would rise at all above 
a stupid immersion in the immediate; yet the 
relations which attach the moments of feeling 
together are material relations, implying the whole 
frame of nature. Psychology can accordingly 
conceive nothing but the natural world, with its 
diffuse animation, since this is the only back- 
ground that the facts suggest or that, in practice, 
anybody can think of. If empiricism trusted the 
intellect, and consented to immerse flying experi- 
ence in experience understood, it would become 
ordinary science and ordinary common sense. 
Deprecating this result, for no very obvious rea- 
son, it has to balance itself on the thin edge of 
an unwilling materialism, with a continual pro- 
testation that it does not believe in anything that 
it thinks. It is wholly entangled in the prev- 
alent sophism that a man must renounce a belief 
when he discovers how he has formed it, and that 

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our ancestors — at least the remoter ones — begin 
to exist when we discover them. 

When Descartes, having composed a mechanical 
system of the world, was asked by admiring ladies 
to say something about the passions, what came 
into his mind was characteristically simple and 
dialectical. Life, he thought, was a perpetual 
conflict between reason and the emotions. The 
soul had its own natural principle to live by, but 
was diverted from that rational path by the waves 
of passion that beat against it and sometimes 
flooded it over. That was all his psychology. 
Ideal entities in dramatic relations, in a theatre 
which had to be borrowed, of course, from the 
other half of the world; because while a material 
mechanism might be conceived without minds in 
it, minds in action could not be conceived with- 
out a material mechanism — at least a represented 
one — lying beneath and between. Spinoza made 
a great improvement in the system by attaching 
the mind more systematically to the body, and 
. studying the parts which organ and object 
played in qualifying knowledge; but his concep- 
1 tion of mental unities and mental processes re* 
, mained literary, or at best, as we have seen, dia- 
lectical. No shadow of a principle at once psychic 
and genetic appeared in his philosophy. All 
mind was still a transcript of material facts or a 
deepening of moral relations. 

The idea of explaining the flow of ideas with- 
out reference to bodies appeared, however, in the 

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principle of association. This is the nearest ap- 
proach that has yet been made to a physics of 
Association disembodied mind — something which 
not efficient, idealism sadly needs to develop. A 
terrible incapacity, however, appears at once in 
the principle of association; for even if we sup- 
pose that it could account for the flow of ideas, 
it does not pretend to supply any basis for sensa- 
tions . And as the more efficient part of associa- 
tion — association by contiguity — is only a repeti- 
tion in ideas of the order once present in 
impressions, the whole question about the march 
of mental experience goes back to what associa- 
tion does not touch, namely, the_origin of sensa- 
tions. What everybody assumed, of course, was 
that the order and quality of sensations were due 
to the body; but their derivation was not studied. 
Hume ignored it as much as possible, and Berk- 
eley did not sacrifice a great deal when he frankly ; 
suggested that the production of sensation must: 
be the direct work of God. 

This tendency not to recognise the material con- 
ditions of mind showed itself more boldly in the 
treatment of ideation. We are not plainly aware 
(in spite of headaches, fatigue, sleep, love, intoxi- 
cation, and madness) that the course of our 
thoughts is as directly dependent on the body as 
is their inception. It was therefore possible, with- 
out glaring paradox, to speak as if ideas caused 
one another. They followed, in recurring, the 
order they had first had in experience, as when we 

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learn something by heart. Why, a previous verse 
being given, we should sometimes be unable to re- 
peat the one that had often followed it before, 
there was no attempt to explain: it sufficed that 
reverie often seemed to retrace events in their 
temporal order. Even less dependent on material 
causes seemed to be the other sort of association, 
association by similarity. This was a feat for the 
wit and the poet, to jump from China to Peru, 
by virtue of some spark of likeness that might 
flash out between them. 

Much natural history has been written and 
studied with the idea of finding curious facts, 
it describes The demand has not been for constant 
coincidences, laws or intelligibility, but for any cir- 
cumstance that could arrest attention or divert the 
fancy. In this spirit, doubtless, instances of as- 
sociation were gathered and classified. It was the 
young ladies' botany of mind. Under association 
could be gathered a thousand interesting anec- 
dotes, a thousand choice patterns of thought. 
Talk of the wars, says Hobbes, once led a man to 
ask what was the value of a Roman penny. But 
why only once? The wars must have been often 
mentioned when the delivering up of King Charles 
did not enter any mind; and when it did, this 
would not have led any one to think of Judas and 
the thirty pence, unless he had been a good royal- 
ist and a good Christian — and then only by a 
curious accident. It was not these ideas, then, in 
their natural capacity that suggested one another; 

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but some medium in which they worked, once in 
the world, opened those particular avenues between • 
them. Nevertheless, no one cared to observe that 
each fact had had many others, never recalled, as- 
sociated with it as closely as those which were 
remembered. Nor was the matter taken so seri- 
ously that one needed to ask how, among all 
similar things, similarity could decide which 
should be chosen ; nor how among a thousand con- 
tiguous facts one rather than another should be 
recalled for contiguity's sake. 

The best instance, perhaps, of regular associa- 
tion might be found in language and its meaning; 
Understand- * or understanding implies that each 
fog is based word habitually calls up its former 
art^Ld associates. Yet in what, psychologi- 
b dialectic C ally considered, does understanding a 
word consist? What concomitants does the word 
" horse " involve in actual sentience? Hardly a 
clear image such as a man might paint; for the 
name is not confined to recalling one view of one 
animal obtained at one moment. Perhaps all that 
recurs is a vague sense of the environment, in 
nature and in discourse, in which that object lies. 
The word " kite " would immediately make a dif- 
ferent region warm in the world through which 
the mind was groping. One would turn in idea 
to the sky rather than to the ground, and feel sug- 
gestions of a more buoyant sort of locomotion. 

Understanding has to be described in terms of 
its potential outcome, since the incandescent proc- 

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ess itself, as it exists in transit, will not suffer 
stable terms to define it. Potentiality is something 
which each half of reality reproaches the other 
with; things are potential to feeling because they 
are not life, and feelings are potential to science 
because they elude definition. To understand, 
therefore, is to know what to do and what to say in 
the sign's presence; and this practical knowledge 
'is far deeper than any echo casually awakened in 
'fancy at the same time. Instinctive recognition 
has those echoes for the most superficial part of 
its effect. Because I understand what "horse" 
means, the word can make me recall some episode 
in which a horse once figured. This understand- 
ing is instinctive and practical and, if the phrase 
may be pardoned, it is the body that understands. 
It is the body, namely, that contains the habit and 
readiness on which understanding hangs; and the 
sense of understanding, the instant rejection of 
whatever clashes and makes nonsense in that con- 
text, is but a transcript of the body's education. 
Actual mind is all above board; it is all specula- 
tive, vibrant, the fruit and gift of those menial 
subterranean processes. Some generative proc- 
esses may be called psychic in that they minister 
to mind and lend it what little continuity it can 
boast of; but they are not processes in conscious- 
ness. Processes in consciousness are aesthetic or 
dialectical processes, focussing a form rather 
than ushering in an existence. Mental activity 
has a character altogether alien to association: it 

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is spiritual, not mechanical; an entelechy, not a 

For these and other reasons association has 
fallen into some disrepute; but it is not easy to 
say what, in absolute psychology, has 
^^^^ c a come to take its place. If we speak 
forautom- of suggestion, a certain dynamic turn 
atum, seems to be given to the matter; yet 

in what sense a perception suggests its future 
development remains a mystery. That a certain 
ripening and expansion of consciousness goes on 
in man, not guided by former collocations of ideas, 
is very true; for we do not fall in love for the 
first time because this person loved and these, 
ardent emotions have been habitually associated 
in past experience. And any impassioned dis- 
course, opening at every turn into new vistas, 
shows the same sort of vegetation. Yet to observe 
that consciousness is automatic is not to disclose 
the mechanism by which it evolves. The theory 
of spontaneous growth offers less explanation of 
events, if that be possible, than the theory of asso- 
ciation. It is perhaps a better description of the 
facts, since at least it makes no attempt to deduce 
them from one another. 

If, on the contrary, a relation implied in the 
burden or will of the moment be invoked, the con- 
and win nection established, so far as it goes, is 

another. dialectical. Where a dialectical cor- 

respondence is not found, a material. cause would 
have to be appealed to. Such a half-dialectical 

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psychology would be like Schopenhauer's, quite 
metaphysical. It might be a great improvement 
on an absolute psychology, because it would re- 
store, even if in mythical terms, a background and 
meaning to life. The unconscious Absolute Will, 
the avid Genius of the Species, the all-attracting 
Platonic Ideas are fabulous; but beneath them it 
is not hard to divine the forces of nature. This 
volitional school supplies a good stepping-stone 
from metaphysics back to scientific psychology. 
It remains merely to substitute instinct for will, 
and to explain that instinct — or even will, if the 
term be thought more consoling — is merely a word 
/covering that operative organisation in the body 
j which controls action, determines affinities, dic- 
J tates preferences, and sustains ideation. 

What scientific psychology has to attempt — for 
little has been accomplished — may be reduced to 
this: To develop physiology and an- 
Schmentof thropology until the mechanism of 
mind to life becomes clear, at least in its 

nature * general method, and then to deter- 

mine, by experiment and by well-sifted testimony, 
what conscious sublimation each of those material 
situations attains, if indeed it attains any. There 
will always remain, no doubt, many a region 
where the machinery of nature is too fine for us 
to trace or eludes us by involving agencies that 
we lack senses to perceive. In these regions where 
science is denied we shall have to be satisfied with 
landscape-painting. The more obvious results 

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and superficial harmonies perceived in those re- 
gions will receive names and physics will be ar- 
rested at natural history. Where these unex- 
plained facts are mental it will not be hard to do 
more systematically what common sense has done 
already, and to attach them, as we attach love or » 
patriotism, to the natural crises that subtend x 

This placing of mental facts is made easy by the 
mental facts themselves, since the connection of 
mind with nature is double, and even when the der- 
ivation of a feeling is obscure we have but to study 
its meaning, allowing it to tell us what it is inter- 
ested in, for a roundabout path to lead us safely 
back to its natural basis. It is superfluous to ask 
a third person what circumstances produce hun- 
ger: hunger will lead you unmistakably enough 
to its point of origin, and its extreme interest in 
food will not suffer you long to believe that want * 
of nourishment has nothing to do with its cause. ' 
And it is not otherwise with higher emotions and 
ideas. Nothing but sophistry can put us in doubt 
about what conscience represents; for conscience 
does not say, square the circle, extinguish mankind 
so as to stop its sufferings, or steal so as to benefit 
your heirs. It says, Thou shalt not kill, and it 
also says, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God 
who brought thee out of the land of Egypt. So 
that conscience, by its import and incidence, clearly 
enough declares what it springs from — a social 
tradition; and what it represents — the interests, 

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- real or imaginary, of the community in which yon 
« were reared. * 

Where psychology depends on literature, where 
both its units and its method are poetical, there 
can be no talk of science. We may as justly, or 
as absurdly, speak of the spirit of an age or of a 
religion as of a man's character or a river's god. 
Particulars in illustration may have good historic 
* warrant, but the unities superimposed are ideal. 
Such metaphors may be very useful, for a man may 
ordinarily be trusted to continue his practices and 
a river its beneficent or disastrous floods; and 
since those rhetorical forms have no existence in 
nature we may continue to frame them as may be 
most convenient for discourse. 

When psychology is a science, then, it describes 
the flying consciousness that accompanies bodily 
life. It is the science of feeling or 
mattwof *° absolute appearance, taken exactly as 
psychology ft seems or feels. Does such a psy- 
chology, we may be tempted to.*fsk, 
constitute scientific knowledge of reality? Is 
it at last the true metaphysics? This question 
would have to be answered in the negative, yet not 
without some previous discriminations. There is 
honesty in the conviction that sentience is a sort 
of absolute; it is something which certainly ex- 
ists. The first Cartesian axiom applies to it, and 
to feel, even doubtfully, that feeling existed would 
be to posit its existence. The science that de- 
scribes sentience describes at- least* a part of ex- 
.^ ►. ... 

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istence. Yet this self-grounding of consciousness 
is a suspicious circumstance: it renders it in one 
sense the typical reality and in another sense per- 
haps the sorriest illusion. 

" Reality " is an ambiguous term. If we mean 
by it the immediate, then sentience would be a 

Sentience is P ftr * ^ n0 * *^ e w ^ e °* rea ^ty> for 

representabie what we mean by sentience or con- 
only in fancy. gc i ousnesg j g the immediate in so far 
as we contain it, and whatever self -grounded ex- 
istence there may be elsewhere can be conceived 
by us only mythically and on that analogy, as if 
it were an extension or variation of sentience. 
Psychology would then be knowledge of reality, 
for even when consciousness contains elaborate 
thoughts that might be full of illusions, psychol- 
ogy, takes them only as so much feeling, and in 
that capacity they are real enough. At the same 
time, while our science terminates upon mere feel- 
ing, it can neither discover nor describe that 
feeling except in terms of something quite differ- 
ent ; and the only part of psychology that perhaps 
penetrates to brute sentience is the part that is not 
scientific. The knowledge that science reaches 
about, absolute states of mind is relative knowl- 
edge; these states of mind are approached from 
without and are defined by their surrounding con- 
ditions and by their ideal objects. They are 
knowi}vby being enveloped in processes of which 
they themselves are not aware. Apart from this 
setting, the only feeling known is that which is 

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endured. After the fact, or before, or from any 
other point of vantage, it cannot be directly re- 
vealed; at best it may be divined and re-enacted. 
Even this possible repetition would not constitute 
knowledge unless the imaginative reproduction 
were identified with or attributed to some natural 
fact; so that an adventitious element would always 
attach to any recognised feeling, to any feeling 
reported to another mind. It could not be known 
at all unless something were known about it, so 
that it might not pass, as otherwise it would, for 
a mere ingredient of present sentience. 

It is precisely by virtue of this adventitious ele- 
ment that the re-enacted feeling takes its place in 
nature and becomes an object of knowledge. Sci- 
ence furnishes this setting; the jewel — precious 
or false — must be supplied by imagination. Ro- 
mance, dramatic myth, is the only instrument for 
knowing this sort of " reality." A flying moment, 
if at all understood or underpinned, or if seen in 
its context, would be not known absolutely as it 
had been felt, but would be known scientifically 
and as it lay in nature. But dramatic insight, 
striving to pierce through the machinery of the 
world and to attain and repeat what dreams may 
be going on at its core, is no science; and the 
very notion that the dreams are internal, that they 
make the interior or substance of bodies, is a crude 
materialistic fancy. Body, on the contrary, is the 
substance or instrument of mind, and has to be 
looked for beneath it. The mind is itself ethereal 

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and plays about the body as music about a violin, 
or rather as the sense of a page about the print 
and paper. To look for it within is not to under- 
stand what we are looking for. 

Knowledge of the immediate elsewhere is ac- 
cordingly visionary in its method, and further- 
more, if, by a fortunate chance, it be true in fact, 
it is true only of what in itself is but appearance ; 
for the immediate, while absolutely real in its 
stress or presence, is indefinitely ignorant and 
false in its deliverance. It knows itself, but in 
the worst sense of the word knowledge; for it 
knows nothing of what is true about it, nothing 
of its relations and conditions. To pierce to this 
blind " reality " or psychic flux, which is nothing 
but flying appearance, we must rely on fortune, or 
an accidental harmony between imitative fancy in 
us now and original sentience elsewhere. It is ac- 
cordingly at least misleading to give the name of 
" reality " to this appearance, which is entirely lost 
and inconsequential in its being, without trace of 
its own status, and consequently approachable or 
knowable only by divination, as a dream might call 
to another dream. 

It is preferable to give a more Platonic mean- 
Thccondi- ing to the word and to let " reality" 
£cte oTinti- designate not what is merely felt dif- 
ence, which fusely but what is true about those 
«ce n «r2!o feelin g 8 - Then dramatic fancy, psy- 
rcaL chology of the sympathetic sort, would 

not be able to reach reality at all. On the 

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other hand scientific psychology, together with 
all other sciences, would have reality for its 
object; for it would disclose what really was 
true about sentient moments, without stopping 
.particularly to sink abstractedly into their inner 
quality or private semblance. It would approach 
and describe the immediate as a sentient factor 
in a natural situation, and show us to what ex- 
tent that situation was represented in that feel- 
ing. This representation, by which the dignity 
and interest of pure sentience would be measured, 
might be either pictorial or virtual ; that is, a con- 
scious moment might represent the environing 
world either scientifically, by understanding its 
structure, or practically, by instinctive readiness 
to meet it. 

What, for instance, is the reality of Napoleon? 
Is it what a telepathic poet, a complete Browning, 
Mind know- m *8> n t reconstruct? Is it Napoleon's 
able and im- life-long soliloquy? Or to get at the 
%?Tit mB ° realit y should we have to add, as sci- 
representa entific psychology would, the condi- 

other things. ^^ mdep wMch fae liye ^ ftnd their 

relation to his casual feelings? Obviously if 
Napoleon's thoughts had had no reference to the 
world we should not be able to recover them; or 
if by chance such thoughts fell some day to our 
share, we should attribute them to our own mental 
luxuriance, without suspecting that they had ever 
visited another genius. Our knowledge of his life, 
even where it is imaginative, depends upon scien- 

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tific knowledge for its projection ; and his fame and 
immortality depend on the degree to which his 
thoughts, being rooted in the structure of the world 
and pertinent to it, can be rationally reproduced 
in others and attributed to him. Napoleon's con- 
sciousness might perhaps be more justly identified 
with the truth or reality of him than could that of 
most people, because he seems to have been unusu- 
ally cognisant of his environment and master of 
the forces at work in it and in himself. He under- 
stood his causes and function, and knew that he 
had arisen, like all the rest of history, and that 
he stood for the transmissible force and authority 
of greater things. Such a consciousness can be 
known in proportion as we, too, possess knowledge, 
and is worth the pains; something which could 
not be said of the absolute sentience of Dick or 
Harry, which has only material being, brute ex- 
istence, without relevance to anything nor under- 
standing of itself. 

The circumstances, open to science, which sur- 
round consciousness are thus real attributes of a 
man by which he is truly known and distin- 
guished. Appearances are the qualities of real- 
ity, else realities would be without place, time, 
character, or interrelation. In knowing that 
Napoleon was a Corsican, a short man with a fine 
countenance, we know appearances only ; but these 
appearances are true of the reality. And if the 
presumable inner appearances, Napoleon's long 
soliloquy, were separated from the others, those 

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inner appearances would not belong to Napoleon 

- nor have any home in the knowable world. That 

* which physics, with its concomitant psychology, 
•* might discover in a man is the sum of what is true 
v about him, seeing that a man is a concretion in 

- existence, the fragment of a world, and not a defi- 

* nition. Appearances define the constituent ele- 
> ments of his reality, which could not be better 
N known than through their means. 


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Common, knowledge passes from memory to 
history and from history to mechanism ; and hav- 
Diakctic ^S reached that point it may stop to 

better than look back, not without misgivings, 
ph,BlC8, over the course it has traversed, and 

thus become psychology. ^ These investigations, 
taken together, constitute^ phygics* or the science 
of existence. But this is only half of scieftce and 
on the whole the less interesting and less funda- 
mental half. No existence is of moment to a 
man, not even his own, unless it touches his will 
and fulfils or thwarts his intent. Unless he is 
concerned that existences should be of specific 
kinds, unless he is interested in form, he can 
hardly be interested in being. At the very least 
in terms of pleasure versus pain, light versus dark- 
ness, comfort versus terror, the flying moment 
must be loaded with oblocpiy or excellence if its 
passage is not to remain a dead fact, and to sink 
from the sphere of actuality altogether into that 
droning limbo of potentialities which we call mat- 
ter. Being which is indifferent to form is only 
the material of being. To exist is nothing if you 

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have nothing to do, if there is nothing to choose 
or to distinguish, or if those things which belong 
to a chosen form are not gathered into it before 
your eyes, to express what we call a truth or an 

Existence naturally precedes any idealisation of 
it which men can contrive (since they, at least, 
must exist first), yet in the order of values knowl- 
I edge of existence is subsidiary to knowledge of 
■ ideals. If it be true that a good physics is as yet 
the predominant need in science, and that man 
is still most troubled by his ignorance of matters 
of fact, this circumstance marks his illiberal- con- 
dition. Without knowledge of existence nothing 
can be done ; but nothing is really done until some- 
thing else is known also, the use or excellence that 
existence may have. It is a great pity that those 
finer temperaments that are naturally addressed 
to the ideal should have turned their energies to 
producing bad physics, or to preventing others 
from establishing natural truths; for if physics 
were established on a firm basis the idealists would 
for the first time have a free field. They might 
then recover their proper function of expressing 
the mind honestly, and disdain the sorry attempt 
to prolong confusion and to fish in troubled 

Perhaps if physical truth had not been so 
hugely misrepresented in men's faith and con- 
duct, it would not need to be minutely repealed 
or particularly emphasised. When the conditions 

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surrounding life are not rightly faced by instinct 
they are inevitably forced upon reflection through 
Maiadjust- pai 11 ^ shocks; and for a long time 
i to the new habit thus forced upon men 

phy^^n" brings to consciousness not so much 
•picuousand the movement of consciousness itself 
unpleasant ^ ^ ^j^ a ^ ^fch jtg movement 

impinges on the external world and feels checks 
and frictions. Physics thus becomes inordinately 
conspicuous (as when philology submerges the love 
of letters) for lack of a good disposition that 
should allow us to take physics for granted. Much 
in nature is delightful to know and to keep in 
mind, but much also (the whole infinite remain- 
der) is obscure and uninteresting; and were we 
practically well adjusted to its issue we might 
gladly absolve ourselves from studying its proc- 
esses. In a world that in extent and complexity 
so far outruns human energies, physical knowledge 
ought to be largely virtual ; that is, nature ought 
to be represented by a suitable attitude toward it, 
by the attitude which reason would dictate were 
knowledge complete, and not by explicit ideas. 

The ancients were happily inspired when they 
imagined that beyond the gods and the fixed stars 
Physics should ^ e c08mos came to an end, for the 
be largely empyrean beyond was nothing in par- 
vlrt,ial * ticular, nothing to trouble one's self 

about. Many existences are either out of relation I 
to m&n altogether or have so infinitesimal an in- » 
fluence on his experience that they may be suffi- 

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ciently represented there by an atom of star-dust ; 
and it is probable that if, out of pure curiosity, 
we wished to consider very remote beings and had 
the means of doing so, we should find the detail 
of existence in them wholly incommensurable with 
anything we can conceive. Such beings could be 
known virtually only, in that we might speak of 
them in the right key, representing them in appro- 
priate symbols, and might move in their company 
with the right degree of respectful indifference. 
•. The present situation of science, however, re- 
verses the ideal one. Physics, in so far as it ex- 
and dialectic **&> * s explicit, and at variance with 
explicit our acquired attitude toward things; 

so that we may justly infer, by the shock our 
little knowledge gives us, that our presumptions 
and assumptions have been so egregious that 
more knowledge would give us still greater shocks. 
Meantime dialectic, or knowledge of ideal things, 
remains merely virtual. The ideal usually comes 
before us only in revulsions which we cannot help 
feeling against some scandalous situation or some 
intolerable muddle. We have no time or genius 
left, after our agitated soundings and balings, to 
think of navigation as a fine art, or to consider 
freely the sea and sky or the land we are seeking. 
The proper occupation of the mind is gone, or 
rather not initiated. 

A further bad consequence of this illiberal state 
is that, among many who have, in spite of the 
times, adoration in their souls, to adore physics, 

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to worship Being, seems a philosophical re- \ 
ligion, whereas, of course, it is the essence of | 
idolatry. The true God is an object of intent, an \ 
ideal of excellence and knowledge, not a term 
belonging to sense or to probable hypothesis or to 
the prudent management of affairs. After we 
have squared our accounts with nature and taken 
sufficient thought for our bodily necessities, the 
eyes can be lifted for the first time to the eternal. 
The rest was superstition and the quaking use of 
a false physics. That appeal to the supernatural 
which while the danger threatens is but forlorn . 
medicine, after the blow has fallen may turn to 
sublime wisdom. This wisdom has cast out the 
fear of material evils, and dreads only that the 
divine should not come down and be worthily en- 
tertained among us. In art, in politics, in that form 
of religion which is superior, and not inferior, to 
politics and art, we define and embody intent ; and 
the intent embodied dignifies the work and lends 
interest to its conditions. So, in science, it is dia- 
lectic that makes physics speculative and worthy 
of a free mind. The baser utilities of material 
knowledge would leave life itself perfectly vain, 
if they did not help it to take on an ideal shape. 
Ideal life, in so far as it constitutes science, is 1 
dialectical. It consists in seeing how things hang^ 
together perspicuously and how the later phases of # 
any process fill out — as in good music — the ten-; 
dency and promise of what went before. This 
derivation may be mathematical or it may be 

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moral; but in either case the data and problem 
define the result, dialectic being insight into their 
inherent correspondence. 

Intent is one of many evidences that the intel- 
lect's essence is practical. Intent is action in the 
intent i* vital sphere of thought; it corresponds to 
and inde- transition and derivation in the natural 
mm world. Analytic psychology is obliged 

to ignore intent, for it is obliged to regard it merely 
as a feeling; but while the feeling of intent is a 
fact like any other, intent itself is an aspiration, 
a passage, the recognition of an object which not 
only is not a part of the feeling given but is often 
incapable of being a feeling or a fact at all. What 
happened to motion under the Eleatic analysis 
happens to intent under an anatomising reflection. 
The parts do not contain the movement of tran- 
sition which makes them a whole. Moral expe- 
rience is not expressible in physical categories, 
because while you may give place and date for 
every feeling that something is important or is 
absurd, you cannot so express what these feelings 
have discovered and have wished to confide to you. 
The importance and the absurdity have disap- 
peared. Yet it is this pronouncement concerning 
*what things are absurd or important that makes 
x the intent of those judgments. To touch it you 
have to enter the moral world; that is, you have 
to bring some sympathetic or hostile judgment to 

* bear on those you are considering and to meet in- 

* tent, not by noting its existence, but by estimating 

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its value, by collating it with your own intent. If 
soma one says two and two are five, you are no 
counter-mathematician when you conscientiously 
put it down that he said so. Your science is not 
relevant to his intent until you run some risk 
yourself in that arena and say, No : two and two 
are four. 

Feelings and ideas, when plucked and sepa- 
rately considered, do not retain the intent that 
made them cognitive or living; yet in their native 
medium they certainly lived and knew. If this 
ideality or transcendence seems a mystery, it is 
such only in the sense in which every initial or 
typical fact is mysterious. Every category would 
be unthinkable if it were not actually used. The 
mystery in this instance has, however, all that can 
best serve to make a mystery homely and amiable. 
It is supported by a strong analogy to other famil- 
iar mysteries. The fact that intellect has intent, 
and does not constitute or contain what it envis- 
ages, is like the fact that time flows, that bodies 
gravitate, that experience is gathered, or that 
itisanaio- existence is suspended between being 
goustofiux and not being. Propagation in ani- 
in existence. ma j s j g m y S t e rious and familiar in the 
same fashion. Cognition, too, is an expedient for « 
vanquishing instability. As reproduction circum- 
vents mortality and preserves a semblance of per- 
manence in the midst of change, so intent regards 
what is not yet, or not here, or what exists no 
longer. Thus the pulverisation proper to exis- 

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tence is vanquished by thought, which in a mo- 
ment announces or commemorates other moments, 
together with the manner of their approach or re- 
cession. The mere image of what is absent con- 
stitutes no knowledge of it ; a dream is not knowl- 
edge of a world like it existing elsewhere; it is 
simply another more fragile world. What renders 
the image cognitive is the intent that projects it 
and deputes it to be representative. It is cogni- 
tive only in use, when it is the vehicle of an as- 
surance which may be right or wrong, because it 
takes something ulterior for its standard. 

We may give intent a somewhat more congenial 
aspect if we remember that thought comes to ani- 
mals in proportion to their docility in the world 
and to their practical competence. The more 
plastic a being is to experience, so long as he re- 
tains vital continuity and a cumulative structure, 
the more intelligent he becomes. Intelligence is 
an expression of adaptation, of impressionable and 
prophetic structure. What wonder, then, that in- 
telligence should speak of the things that inspire 
it and that lend it its oracular and practical char- 
acter, namely, of things at that moment absent 
it expresses an ^ merely potential, in other words, 
natural life. f the surrounding world ? Mere feel- 
ing might suffice to translate into consciousness 
each particle of protoplasm in its isolation; but 
to translate the relations of that particle to what 
is not itself and to express its response to those 
environing presences, intent and conscious sig- 

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nification are required. Intellect transcends the 
given and means the absent because life, of which 
intellect is the fulfilment or entelechy, is itself 
absorbed from without and radiated outward. As 
life depends on an equilibrium of material proc- 
esses which reach" far beyond the individual they 
sustain in being, so intent is a recognition of out- 
lying existences which sustain in being that very 
sympathy by which they are recognised. Intent 
and life are more than analogous. If we use the 
word life in an ideal sense, the two are coinci- 
dent, for, as Aristotle says, the act proper to in- 
tellect is life.* The flux is so pervasive, so subtle 
in its persistency, that even those miracles which 
suspend it must somehow share its destiny. In- 
tent bridges many a chasm, but only by leaping 
across. The life that is sustained for years, the 
political or moral purpose that may bind whole 
races together, is condemned to be partly a mem- 
ory and partly a plan and wholly an ideal. Its 
scope is nothing but the range to which it can 
continually extend its sympathies and its power 
of representation. Its moments have nothing in 
common except their loyaltiefe and a conspiring in- 
terest in what is not themselves. 

This moral energy, so closely analogous to 
physical interplay, is of course not without a mate- 
it has a mate- ™d basis. Spiritual sublimation does 
rial bads. not consist in not using matter but in 
using it up, in making it all useful. When life 

* Cf . the motto on the title-page. 

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fied. But such chance reflection amounts to 
moral perception, not to moral science. Eeason 
has not begun to educate her children. This 
morality is like knowing chairs from tables and 
things near from distant things, which is hardly 
what we mean by natural science. On this stage, 
in the moral world, are the judgments of Mrs. 
Grundy, the aims of political parties and their 
maxims, the principles of war, the appreciation of 
art, the commandments of religious authorities, 
special revelations of duty to individuals, and all 
systems of intuitive ethics. 

Prerational morality is vigorous because it is 
sincere. Actual interests, rooted habits, appre- 
its emotional Nations the opposite of which is in- 
and practical conceivable and contrary to the current 
power * use of language, are embodied in spe- 

cial precepts; or they flare up of themselves in 
impassioned judgments. It is hardly too much 
to say, indeed, that prerational morality is moral- 
ity proper. Rational ethics, in comparison, seems 
a kind of politics or wisdom, while postrational 
systems are essentially religions. If we thus 
identify morality with prerational standards, we 
may agree also that morality is no science in 
itself, though it may become, with other matters, 
a subject for the science of anthropology; and 
Hume, who had never come to close quarters with 
any rational or postrational ideal, could say with 
perfect truth that morality was not founded on 
reason. Instinct is of course not founded on rea- 

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son, but vice versa; and the maxims enforced by 
tradition or conscience are unmistakably founded 
on instinct. They might, it is true, become mate- 
rials for reason, if they were intelligently accepted, 
compared, and controlled; but such a possibility 
reverses the partisan and spasmodic methods 
which Hume and most other professed moralists 
associate with ethics. Hume's own treatises on 
morals, it need hardly be said, are pure psychology. 
It would have seemed to him conceited, perhaps, 
to inquire what ought really to be done. He lim- 
ited himself to asking what men tended to think 
about their doings. 

The chief expression of rational ethics which a 
man in Hume's world would have come upon lay 
in the Platonic and Aristotelian writings; but 
these were not then particularly studied nor 
vitally understood. The chief illustration of 
postrational morality that could have fallen under 
his eyes, the Catholic religion, he would never 
have thought of as a philosophy of life, but merely 
as a combination of superstition and policy, well 
adapted to the lying and lascivious habits of 
Mediterranean peoples. Under such circum- 
stances ethics could not be thought of as a sci- 
ence; and whatever gradual definition of the ideal, 
whatever prescription of what ought to be and to 
be done, found a place in the thoughts of such 
philosophers formed a part of their politics or 
religion and not of their reasoned knowledge. 

There is, however, a dialectic of the will; and 

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that is the science which, for want of a better 
name, we must call ethics or moral philosophy. 
Moral scienc« ^e ^erweaving of this logic of 
isanappika- practice with various natural sciences 
tionofdiaiec- t ^ at k ave man or soc i e ty for their 

tic, not a part J 

ofanthropoi- theme, leads to much confusion in 
ogy# terminology and in point of view. Is 

the good, we may ask, what anybody calls good at 
any moment, or what anybody calls good on reflec- 
tion, or what all men agree to call good, or what 
God calls good, no matter what all mankind may 
think about it? Or is true good something that 
perhaps nobody calls good nor knows of, some- 
thing with no other characteristic or relation 
except that it is simply good? 

Various questions are involved in such perplex- 
ing alternatives; some are physical questions and 
others dialectical. Why any one values anything 
at all, or anything in particular, is a question of 
physics; it asks for the causes of interest, judg- 
ment, and desire. To esteem a thing good is to 

, express certain affinities between that thing and 
the speaker; and if this is done with self-knowledge 
and with knowledge of the thing, so that the felt 
affinity is a real one, the judgment is invulnerable 
and cannot be asked to rescind itself. Thus if a 

. man said hemlock was good to drink, we might 
say he was mistaken; but if he explained that he 
meant good to drink in committing suicide, there 
would be nothing pertinent left to say: for to 
adduce that to commit suicide is not good would 

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be impertinent. To establish that, we should have 
to go back and ask him if he valued anything — 
life, parents, country, knowledge, reputation; and 
if he said no, and was sincere, our mouths would 
be effectually stopped — that is, unless we took to 
declamation. But we might very well turn to the 
bystanders and explain what sort of blood and 
training this man possessed, and what had hap- 
pened among the cells and fibres of his brain to 
make him reason after that fashion. The causes « 
of morality, good or bad, are physical, seeing that • 
they are causes. 

The science of ethics, however, has nothing to ' 
do with causes, not in that it need deny or ignore 
them but in that it is their fruit and begins where 
they end. Incense rises from burning coals, but 
it is itself no conflagration, and will produce none. 
What ethics asks is not why a thing is called good, 
but whether it is good or not, whether it is right 
or not so to esteem it. Goodness, in this ideal 
sense, is not a matter of opinion, but of nature. 
For intent is at work, life is in active operation, 
and the question is whether the thing or the situa- 
tion responds to that intent. So if I ask, Is four 
really twice two ? the answer is not that most peo- 
ple say so, but that, in saying so, I am not mis- • 
understanding myself. To judge whether things 
are really good, intent must be made to speak; 
and if this intent may itself be judged later, that 
happens by virtue of other intents comparing the * 
first with their own direction. 

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Hence good, when once the moral or dialectical 
attitude has been assumed, means not what is 
called good but what is so; that is, what ought 
to be called good. For intent, beneath which 
there is no moral judgment, sets up its own stand- 
ard, and ideal science begins on that basis, and 

• cannot go back of it to ask why the obvious good 

• is good at all. Naturally, there is a reason, but 

• not a moral one; for it lies in the physical habit 
. and necessity of things. The reason is simply the 

propulsive essence of animals and of the universal 
flux, which renders forms possible but unstable, 
and either helpful or hurtful to one another. 
That nature should have this constitution, or in- 
tent this direction, is not a good in itself. It is 
esteemed good or bad as the intent that speaks 
finds in that situation a support or an obstacle to 
its ideal. As a matter of fact, nature and the 
very existence of life cannot be thought wholly 
' eviV since no intent is wholly at war with these 
its conditions ; nor can nature and life be sincerely 
regarded as wholly good, since no moral intent 

• stops at the facts; nor does the universal flux, 
-which infinitely overflows any actual synthesis, 

altogether support any intent it may generate. 

Philosophers would do a great discourtesy to 
estimation if they sought to justify it. It is all 
Estimation °ther acts that need justification by 
the foul of this one. The good greets us initially 
philosophy. -jj ever y experience and in every ob- 
ject. Remove from anything its share of excel- 

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lence and you have made it utterly insignifi- 
cant, irrelevant to human discourse, and unworthy 
of even theoretic consideration. Value is the 
principle of perspective in science, no less than of 
Tightness in life. The hierarchy of goods, the ar- 
chitecture of values, is the subject that concerns 
man most. Wisdom is the first philosophy, both 
in time and in authority; and to collect facts or 
to chop logic would be idle and would add no dig- 
nity to the mind, unless that mind possessed a 
clear humanity and could discern what facts and 
logic are good for and what not. The facts would 
remain facts and the truths truths; for of course 
values, accruing on account of animal souls and 
their affections, cannot possibly create the uni- > 
verse those animals inhabit. But both facts and 
truths would remain trivial, fit to awakexi no pang, 
no interest, and no rapture. The first philoso- 
phers were accordingly sages. They were states- 
men and poets who knew the world and cast a 
speculative glance at the heavens, the better to 
understand the conditions and limits of human 
happiness. Before their day, too, wisdom had 
spoken in proverbs. It is better, every adage 
began : Better this than that. Images or symbols, 
mythical or homely events, of course furnished 
subjects and provocations for these judgments; 
but the residuum of all observation was a settled 
estimation of things, a direction chosen in thought 
and life because it was better. Such was philos- 
ophy in the beginning and such is philosophy still. 

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To one brought up in a sophisticated society, or 
in particular under an ethical religion, morality 
seems at first an external command, a 
criminations chilling and arbitrary set of require- 
are natural ments and prohibitions which the 
young heart, if it trusted itself, would 
not reckon at a penny's worth. Yet while this 
rebellion is brewing in the secret conclave of the 
passions, the passions themselves are prescribing 
a code. They are inventing gallantry and kind- 
ness and honour; they are discovering friendship 
and paternity. With maturity comes the recog- 
nition that the authorised precepts of morality 
were essentially not arbitrary; that they expressed 
the genuine aims and interests of a practised will ; 
that their alleged alien and supernatural basis 
(which if real would have deprived them of all 
moral authority) was but a mythical cover for 
their forgotten natural springs. Virtue is then 
seen to be admirable essentially, and not merely by 
conventional imputation. If traditional morality 
has much in it that is out of proportion, much 
that is unintelligent and inert, nevertheless it 
N represents on the whole the verdict of reason. It 
"speaks for a typical human will chastened by a 
^ typical human experience. 

Gnomic wisdom, however, is notoriously poly- 
chrome, and proverbs depend for their truth en- 
a choice of tirely on the occasion they are applied 
proverbs. to. Almost every wise saying has an 
opposite one, no less wise, to balance it; so that a 

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man rich in such lore, like Sancho Panza, can 
always find a venerable maxim to fortify the view 
he happens to be taking. In respect to foresight, 
for instance, we are told, Make hay while the sun 
shines, A stitch in time saves nine, Honesty is the 
best policy, Murder will out, Woe unto you, ye 
hypocrites, Watch and pray, Seek salvation with 
fear and trembling, and Respice finem. But on 
the same authorities exactly we have opposite 
maxims, inspired by a feeling that mortal pru- 
dence is fallible, that life is shorter than policy, 
and that only the present is real ; for we hear, A 
bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, Carpe 
diem, Ars longa, vita brevis, Be not righteous 
overmuch, Enough for the day is the evil thereof, 
Behold the lilies of the field, Judge not, that ye 
be not judged, Mind your own business, and It 
takes all sorts of men to make a world. So when 
some particularly shocking thing happens one man 
says, Cherchez la femme, and another says, Great 
is Allah. 

That these maxims should be so various and 
partial is quite intelligible when we consider how 
they spring up. Every man, in moral reflection, 
is animated by his own intent; he has something 
in view which he prizes, he knows not why, and 
which wears to him the essential and unquestion- 
able character of a good. With this standard 
before his eyes, he observes easily — for love and 
hope are extraordinarily keen-sighted — what in 
action or in circumstances forwards his purpose 

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and what thwarts it; and at once the maxim 
comes, very likely in the language of the particu- 
lar instance before him. Now the interests that 
speak in a man are different at different times; 
and the outer facts or measures which in one case 
promote that interest may, where other less obvi- 
ous conditions have changed, altogether defeat it. 
Hence all sorts of precepts looking to all sorts of 

Prescriptions of this nature differ enormously 
in value; for they differ enormously in scope. By 
Thdrvarious c^* 1106 * or through the insensible 
representative operation of experience leading up to 
YBl,Ie • some outburst of genius, intuitive 

maxims may be so central, so expressive of ulti- 
mate aims, so representative, I mean, of all aims 
in fusion, that they merely anticipate what moral 
science would have come to if it had existed. 
This happens much as in physics ultimate truths 
may be divined by poets long before they are dis- 
covered by investigators; the vivida vis animi 
taking the place of much recorded experience, 
because much unrecorded experience has secretly 
fed it. Such, for instance, is the central maxim 
of Christianity, Lore thy neighbour as thyself. 
On the other hand, what is usual in intuitive 
codes is a mixture of some elementary precepts, 
necessary to any society, with others representing 
local traditions or ancient rites : so Thou shalt not 
kill, and Thou shalt keep holy the Sabbath day, 
figure side by side in the Decalogue. When Antig- 

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one, in her sublimest exaltation, defies human 
enactments and appeals to laws which are not of 
to-day nor yesterday, no man knowing whence 
they have arisen, she mixes various types of obli- 
gation in a most instructive fashion ; for a super- 
stitious horror at leaving a body unburied — some- 
thing decidedly of yesterday — gives poignancy in 
her mind to natural affection for a brother — 
something indeed universal, yet having a well- 
known origin. The passionate assertion of right 
is here, in consequence, more dramatic than spirit- 
ual ; and even its dramatic force has suffered some- 
what by the change in ruling ideals. 

The disarray of intuitive ethics is made pain- 
fully clear in the conflicts which it involves when 
Conflict of ** ^as fostered two incompatible 
partial moral- growths in two centres which lie near 
tif& j enough to each other to come into 

physical collision. Such ethics has nothing to . 
offer in the presence of discord except an appeal 
to force and to ultimate physical sanctions. It 
can instigate,, but cannot resolve, the battle of 
nations and the battle of religions. Precisely the 
same zeal, the same patriotism, the same readi- 
ness for martyrdom fires adherents to rival so- 
cieties, and fires them especially in view of the 
fact that the adversary is no less uncompromis- 
ing and fierce. It might seem idle, if not cruel 
and malicious, to wish to substitute one historical 
allegiance for another, when both are equally ar- 
bitrary, and the existing one is the more congenial 

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to those born under it; but to feel this aggression 
to be criminal demands some degree of imagina- 
1 tion and justice, and sectaries would not be sec- 
taries if they possessed it. 

Truly religious minds, while eager perhaps to 
extirpate every religion but their own, often rise 
above national jealousies; for spirituality is uni- 
versal, whatever churches may be. Similarly poli- 
ticians often understand very well the religious 
situation; and of late it has become again the 
general practice among prudent governments to do 
as the Romans did in their conquests, and to leave 
people free to exercise what religion they have, 
without pestering them with a foreign one. On 
the other hand the same politicians are the 
avowed agents of a quite patent iniquity; for what 
is their ideal ? To substitute their own language, 
commerce, soldiers, and tax-gatherers for the tax- 
gatherers, soldiers, commerce, and language of 
their neighbours; and no means is thought ille- 
gitimate, be it fraud in policy or bloodshed in 
war, to secure this absolutely nugatory end. Is 
not one country as much a country as another? 
Is it not as dear to its inhabitants? What then 
is gained by oppressing its genius or by seeking 
to destroy it altogether? 

Here are two flagrant instances where pre- 
rational morality defeats the ends of morality. 
Viewed from within, each religious or national 
fanaticism stands for a good; but in its outward 
operation it produces and becomes an evil. It is 

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possible, no doubt, that its agents are really so far 
apart in nature and ideals that, like men and 
mosquitoes, they can stand in physical relations 
only, and if they meet can meet only to poison 
or to crush one another. More probably, however, 
humanity in them is no merely nominal essence; 
it is definable ideally, as essences are defined, by 
a partially identical function and intent. In that 
case, by studying their own nature, they could rise 
above their mutual opposition, and feel that in 
their fanaticism they were taking too contracted 
a view of their own souls and were hardly doing 
justice to themselves when they did such great 
injustice to others. 

How prerational morality may approach the 
goal, and miss it, is well illustrated in the history 
The Greek °^ Hellenism. Greek morals may be 
ideal. sa id to have been inspired by two pre- 

rational sentiments, a naturalistic religion and a 
local patriotism. Could Plato have succeeded in 
making that religion moral, or Alexander in uni- 
versalising that patriotism, perhaps Greece might 
have been saved and we might all be now at a 
very different level of civilisation. Both Plato 
and Alexander failed, in spite of the immense and 
lasting influence of their work; for in both cases 
the after-effects were spurious, and the new spirit 
was smothered in the dull substances it strove to 

Greek myth was an exuberant assertion of the 
rights of life in the universe. Existence could 

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not but be joyful and immortal, if it had once 
found, in land, sea, or air, a form congruous 
with that element. Such congruity would render 
a being stable, efficient, beautiful. He would 
achieve a perfection grounded in skilful practice 
and in a thorough rejection of whatever was 
irrelevant. These things the Greeks called virtue. 
The gods were perfect models of this kind of ex- 
cellence; for of course the amours of Zeus and 
Hermes' trickery were, in their hearty fashion, 
splendid manifestations of energy. This natural 
divine virtue carried no sense of responsibility 
with it, but it could not fail to diffuse benefit 
because it radiated happiness and beauty. The 
worshipper, by invoking those braver inhabitants 
of the cosmos, felt he might more easily attain a 
corresponding beauty and happiness in his pater- 
nal city. 

The source of myth had been a genial sympathy 
with nature. The observer, at ease himself, mul- 
tiplied ideally the potentialities of his 
exuberance* being; but he went farther in imag- 
and political ining what life might yield abroad, 

discipline. 011* 1 1 i 

freed from every trammel and neces- 
sity, than in deepening his sense of what life was 
in himself, and of what it ought to be. This 
moral reflection, absent from mythology, was sup- 
plied by politics. The family and the state had 
a soberer antique religion of their own ; this he- 
reditary piety, together with the laws, prescribed 
education, customs, and duties. The city drew its 

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walls close about the heart, and while it fostered 
friendship and reason within, without it looked 
to little but war. A splendid physical and moral 
discipline was established to serve a suicidal ego- 
ism. The city committed its crimes, and the 
individual indulged his vices of conduct and es- 
timation, hardly rebuked by philosophy and quite 
unrebuked by religion. Nevertheless, religion and 
philosophy existed, together with an incompar- 
able literature and art, and an unrivalled meas- 
ure and simplicity in living. A liberal fancy and 
a strict civic regimen, starting with different par- 
tial motives and blind purposes, combined by good 
fortune into an almost rational life. 

It was inevitable, however, when only an irra- 
tional tradition supported the state, and kept it 
so weak amid a world of enemies, that this state 
should succumb; not to speak of the mean ani- 
mosities, the license in life, and the spirit of 
mockery that inwardly infested it. The myths, 
too, faded; they had expressed a fleeting moment 
of poetic insight, as patriotism had expressed a « 
fleeting moment of unanimous effort; but what 
force could sustain such accidental harmonies? 
The patriotism soon lost its power to inspire sac- 
rifice, and the myth its power to inspire wonder; 
so that the relics of that singular civilisation were 
scattered almost at once in the general flood of 
the world. 

The Greek ideal has fascinated many men in 
all ages, who have sometimes been in a position 

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to set a fashion, so that the world in general has 
pretended also to admire. But the truth is Hellas, 
gteri]ity of in leaving so many heirlooms to man- 
Greek ex- kind, has left no constitutional bene- 
axnple " fit; it has taught the conscience no 

lesson. We possess a great heritage from Greece, 
but it is no natural endowment. An artistic 
renaissance in the fifteenth century and a histori- 
cal one in the nineteenth have only affected the 
trappings of society. The movement has come 
from above. It has not found any response in 
the people. While Greek morality, in its contents 
or in the type of life it prescribes, comes nearer 
than any other prerational experiment to what 
reason might propose, yet it has been less useful 
than many other influences in bringing the Life 
of Season about. The Christian and the Moslem, 
in refining their more violent inspiration, have 
brought us nearer to genuine goodness than the 
Greek could by his idle example. Classic perfec- 
tion is a seedless flower, imitable only by artifice, 
not reproducible by generation. It is capable of 
influencing character only through the intellect, 
the means by which character can be influenced 
least. It is a detached ideal, responding to no 
4 crying and actual demand in the world at large. 
It never passed, to win the right of address- 
ing mankind, through a sufficient novitiate of 

The Hebrews, on the contrary, who in compari- 
son with the Greeks had a barbarous idea of hap- 

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piness, showed far greater moral cohesion under 
the pressure of adversity. They integrated their 
purposes into a fanaticism, but they 
mowOity integrated them ; and the integrity that 

among the resulted became a mighty example. It 
ews * constituted an ideal of character not 

the less awe-inspiring for being merely formal.* 
We need not marvel that abstract commandments 
should have impressed the world more than con- 
crete ideals. To appreciate an ideal, to love and 
serve it in the full light of science and reason, 
would require a high intelligence, and, what is . / 
rarer still, noble affinities and renunciations which ■ k 
are not to be looked for in an undisciplined peo- - 
pie. But to feel the truth and authority of an 
abstract maxim (as, for instance, Do right and 
shame the devil), a maxim applicable to experi- 
ence on any plane, nothing is needed but a sound 
wit and common honesty. Men know better what ^ 
is right and wrong than what is ultimately good 
or evil; their conscience is more vividly present 
to them than the fruits which obedience to con-' 
science might bear; so that the logical relation of * 
means to ends, of methods to activities, eludes 
them altogether. What is a necessary connection 
between the given end, happiness, and the normal 
life naturally possessing it, appears to them as a 
miraculous connection between obedience to God's 
commands and enjoyment of his favour. The 
evidence of this miracle astonishes them and fills 
them with zeal. They are strengthened to per- 

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severe in righteousness under any stress of mis- 
fortune, in the assurance that they are being put 
to a temporary test and that the reward promised 
to virtue will eventually be theirs. 

Thus a habit of faithfulness, a trust in general 
principles, is fostered and ingrained in generation 
The develop- a ^ r generation — a rare and precious 
mentofcon- heritage for a race so imperfectly 
science. rational as the human. Season would 

of course justify the same constancy in well-doing, 
since a course of conduct would not be right, but 
wrong, if its ultimate issue were human misery. 
But as the happiness secured by virtue may be 
remote and may demand more virtue to make it 
appreciable, the mere rationality of a habit gives 
-it no currency in the world and but little moral 

* glow in the conscience. We should not, therefore, 
be too much offended at the illusions which play 
a part in moral integration. Imagination is often 
more efficacious in reaching the gist and meaning 
of experience than intelligence can be, just because 

« imagination is less scrupulous and more instinc- 

• tive. Even physical discoveries, when they come, 
are the fruit of divination, and Columbus had to 
believe he might sail westward to India before he 
could actually hit upon America. Season cannot 
create itself, and nature, in producing reason, has 
to feel her way experimentally. Habits and 
chance systems of education have to arise first and 

v exercise upon individuals an irrational suasion 
v favourable to rational ends. Men long live in 

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substantial harmony with reality before they rec- 
ognise its nature. Organs long exist before they 
reach their perfect function. The fortunate in- 
stincts of a race destined to long life and ration- 
ality express themselves in significant poetry 
before they express themselves in science. 

The service which Hebraism has rendered to 
mankind has been instrumental, as that rendered 
by Hellenism has been imaginative. Hebraism 
has put earnestness and urgency into morality, 
making it a matter of duty, at once private and 
universal, rather than what paganism had left it, 
a mass of local allegiances and legal practices. 
The Jewish system has, in consequence, a tend- 
ency to propaganda and intolerance; a tend- 
ency which would not have proved nefarious had 
this religion always remained true to its moral 
principle; for morality is coercive and no man, 
being autonomous, has a right to do wrong. 
Conscience, thus reinforced by religious passion, 
has been able to focus a general abhorrence on 
certain great scandals — slavery and sodomy could 
be practically suppressed among Christians, and 
drunkenness among Moslems. The Christian 
principle of charity also owed a part of its force 
to Hebraic tradition. For the law and the 
prophets were full of mercy and loving kindness 
toward the faithful. What Moses had taught his 
people Christ and his Hellenising disciples had the 
beautiful courage to preach to all mankind. Yet 
this virtue of charity, on its subtler and more 

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> metaphysical side, belongs to the spirit of re- 

• demption, to that ascetic and quasi-Buddhistic 
element in Christianity to which we shall pres- 
ently revert. The pure Jews can have no part in 
such insight, because it contradicts the positivism 
of their religion and character and their ideal of 
worldly happiness. 

As the human body is said to change all its 
substance every seven years, and yet is the same 

body, so the Hebraic conscience might 
Hebraic dew- change all its tenets in seven genera- 
tion to Greek tions and be the same conscience still. 

Gould this abstract moral habit, this 
transferable earnestness, be enlisted in rational 
causes, the life of Reason would have gained 
a valuable instrument. Men would possess the 
" single eye," and the art, so difficult to an ape- 
» like creature with loose moral feelings, of acting 

• on principle. Could the vision of an adequate 
natural ideal fall into the Hebraising mind, 
already aching for action and nerved to practical 
enthusiasm, that ideal vision might become effi- 
cacious and be largely realised in practice. The 

* abstract power of self -direction, if enlightened by 
a larger experience and a more fertile genius, 
might give the life of Reason a public embodi- 
ment such as it has not had since the best days of 
classic antiquity. Thus the two prerational mo- 
ralities out of which European civilisation has 
grown, could they be happily superposed, would 
make a rational polity. 

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The objects of human desire, then, until reason 
has compared and experience has tested them, are 
a miscellaneous assortment of goods, unstable in 
Preratfonai themselves and incompatible with one 
morality another. It is a happy chance if a 

J^tionbuT tolerable mixture of them recommends 
offers no itself to a prophet or finds an adven- 
programme. tift ous acceptance among a group of 
men. Intuitive morality is adequate while it 
simply enforces those obvious and universal laws 
which are indispensable to any society, and which 
impose themselves everywhere on men under pain 
of quick extinction — a penalty which many an , 
individual and many a nation continually prefers 
to pay. But when intuitive morality ventures - 
upon speculative ground and tries to guide prog- 
ress, its magic fails. Ideals are tentative and 
have to be critically viewed. A moralist who rests 
in his intuitions may be a good preacher, but 
hardly deserves the name of philosopher. He 
cannot find any authority for his maxims which 
opposite maxims may not equally invoke. To set- 
tle the relative merits of rival authorities and of 
hostile consciences it is necessary to appeal to the 
only real authority, to experience, reason, and 
human nature in the living man. No other test 
is conceivable and no other would be valid ; for no 
good man would ever consent to regard an author- 
ity as divine or binding which essentially contra- 
dicted his own conscience. Yet a conscience 
which is irreflective and incorrigible is too hastily 

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satisfied with itself, and not conscientious enough : 
it needs cultivation by dialectic. It neglects to 
extend to all human interests that principle of 
* synthesis and justice by which conscience itself 
v has arisen. And so soon as the conscience sum- 
mons its own dicta for revision in the light 
of experience and of universal sympathy, it is 
no longer called conscience, but reason. So, too, 
when the spirit summons its traditional faiths, to 
subject them to a similar examination, that exer- 
cise is not called religion, but philosophy. It is 
true, in a sense, that philosophy is the purest re- 
ligion and reason the ultimate conscience; but so 
to name them would be misleading. The things 
commonly called by those names have seldom con- 
sented to live at peace with sincere reflection. It 
has been felt vaguely that reason could not have 
produced them, and that they might suffer sad 
changes by submitting to it ; as if reason could be 
the ground of anything, or as if everything might 
not find its consummation in becoming rational. 

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In moral reprobation there is often a fanatical 
element, I mean that hatred which an animal 
may sometimes feel for other animals 
eiongrepre- on account of their strange aspect, or 
sent private because their habits put him to seri- 
_, ous inconvenience, or because these 
habits, if he himself adopted them, might be 
vicious in him. Such aversion, however, is not a 
rational sentiment. No fault can be justly found 
with a creature merely for not resembling an- 
other, or for flourishing in a different physical 
or moral environment. It has been an unfor- 
tunate consequence of mythical philosophies that 
moral emotions have been stretched to objects 
with which a man has only physical relations, so 
that the universe has been filled with monsters 
more or less horrible, according as the forces 
they represented were more or less formidable to 
human life. In the same spirit, every experi- 
ment in civilisation has passed for a crime among 
those engaged in some other experiment. The 
foreigner has seemed an insidious rascal, the 
heretic a pestilent sinner, and any material ob- 

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Btacle a literal devil; while to possess some 
unusual passion, however innocent, has brought 
obloquy on every one unfortunate enough not to 
be constituted like the average of his neighbours. 

Ethics, if it is to be a science and not a piece 
of arbitrary legislation, cannot pronounce it sin- 
ful in a serpent to be a serpent; it cannot even 
accuse a barbarian of loving a wrong life, except 
in so far as the barbarian is supposed capable of 
accusing himself of barbarism. If he is a per- 
fect barbarian he will be inwardly, and therefore 
morally, justified. The notion of a barbarian 
will then be accepted by him as that of a true 
man, and will form the basis of whatever rational 
judgments or policy he attains. It may still seem 
. dreadful to him to be a serpent, as to be a bar- 
barian might seem dreadful to a man imbued 
with liberal interests. But the degree to which 
moral science, or the dialectic of will, can con- 
demn any type of life depends on the amount of 
disruptive contradiction which, at any reflective 
moment, that life brings under the unity of 
apperception. The discordant impulses therein 
confronted will challenge and condemn one an- 
other; and the court of reason in which their 
quarrel is ventilated will have authority to pro- 
nounce between them. 

The physical repulsion, however, which every- 
body feels to habits and interests which he is in- 
capable of sharing is no part of rational estimation, 
large as its share may be in the fierce preju- 

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dices and superstitions which prerational morality 
abounds in. The strongest feelings assigned to I 
the conscience are not moral feelings at all; they / 
express merely physical antipathies. 

Toward alien powers a man's true weapon is 
not invective, but skill and strength. An ob- 
stacle is an obstacle, not a devil; and even a moral 
life, when it actually exists in a being with hos- 
tile activities, is merely a hostile power. It is 
not hostile, however, in so far as it is moral, but 
only in so far as its morality represents a mate- 
rial organism, physically incompatible with what 
the thinker has at heart. 

Material conflicts cannot be abolished by rea- 
son, because reason is powerful only where they 

have been removed. Yet where op- 
ideal interests posing forces are able mutually to 
may super- comprehend and respect one another, 

common ideal interests at once super-, 
vene, and though the material conflict may re-l 
main irrepressible, it will be overlaid by an inteli 
lectual life, partly common and unanimous. In 
this lies the chivalry of war, that we acknowledge 
the right of others to pursue ends contrary to our 
own. Competitors who are able to feel this ideal 
comity, and who leading different lives in the 
flesh lead the same life in imagination, are in- 
cited by their mutual understanding to rise above 
that material ambition, perhaps gratuitous, that 
has made them enemies. They may ultimately 
wish to renounce that temporal good which de- 

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prives them of spiritual goods in truth infinitely 
greater and more appealing to the soul — inno- 
cence, justice, and intelligence. They may pre- 
fer an enlarged mind to enlarged frontiers, and 
the comprehension of things foreign to the de- 
struction of them. They may even aspire to de- 
tachment from those private interests which, as 
Plato said,* do not deserve to be taken too seri- 
ously; the fact that we must take them seriously 
being the ignoble part of our condition. 

Of course such renunciations, to be rational, 
must not extend to the whole material basis of 
life, since some physical particularity and effi- 
% ciency are requisite for bringing into being that 
very rationality which is to turn enemies into 
* friends. The need of a material basis for spirit 
is what renders partial war with parts of the 
world the inevitable background of charity and 
justice. The frontiers at which this warfare is 
waged may, however, be pushed back indefinitely. 
Within the sphere organised about a firm and 
generous life a Eoman peace can be established. 
It is not what is assimilated that saps a creative 
will, but what remains outside that ultimately 
invades and disrupts it. In exact proportion to 
its vigour, it wins over former enemies, civilises 
the barbarian, and even tames the viper, when 
the eye is masterful and sympathetic enough to 
dispel hatred and fear. The more rational an in- 
stitution is the less it suffers by making conces- 

*Laws. VII. 808. B. 

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sions to others; for these concessions, being just, 
propagate its essence. The ideal commonwealth 
can extend to the limit at which such concessions • 
cease to be just and are thereby detrimental.' 
Beyond or below that limit strife must continue • 
for physical ascendancy, so that the power and * 
the will to be reasonable may not be undermined. ' 
Eeason is an operation in nature, and has its root 
there. Saints cannot arise where there have been 
no warriors, nor philosophers where a prying 
beast does not remain hidden in the depths. 

Perhaps the art of politics, if it were prac- 
tised scientifically, might obviate open war, re- 
ligious enmities, industrial competi- 
tent there is tion, and human slavery; but it would 
rational certainly not leave a free field for all 

society. J 

animals nor for all monstrosities in 
men. Even while admitting the claims of mon- 
sters to be treated humanely, reason could not 
suffer them to absorb those material resources 
which might be needed to maintain rational so- 
ciety at its highest efficiency. We cannot, at this 
immense distance from a rational social order, 
judge what concessions individual genius would 
be called upon to make in a system of education 
^and government in which all attainable goods 
should be pursued scientifically. Concessions 
would certainly be demanded, if not from well- 
trained wills, still from inevitable instincts, react- 
ing on inevitable accidents. There is tragedy in • 
perfection, because the universe in which perf ec- < 

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* tion arises is itself imperfect. Accidents will 
always continue to harass the most consummate 
organism; they will flow in both from the outer 
world and from the interstices, so to speak, of its 
own machinery; for a rational life touches the 
irrational at its core as well as at its periphery. 
In both directions it meets physical force and can 
subsist only by exercising physical force in return. 

•The range of rational ethics is limited to the 

~ intermediate political zone, in which existences 

% have attained some degree of natural unaminity. 

It should be added, perhaps, that the frontiers 

between moral and physical action are purely 

notional. Eeal existences do not lie wholly on 

one or the other side of them. Every man, every 

' material object, has moral affinities enveloping an 

* indomitable vital nucleus or brute personal ker- 4 

* nel; this moral essence is enveloped in turn by 
untraceable relations, radiating to infinity over 

*the natural world. The stars enter society by 
the light and knowledge they afford, the time 
they keep, and the ornament they lavish; but 
they are mere dead weights in their substance 
and cosmological puzzles in their destiny. You 
and I possess manifold ideal bonds in the inter- 
ests we share; but each of us has his poor body 
and his irremediable, incommunicable dreams. 
Beyond the little span of his foresight and love, 
each is merely a physical agency, preparing the 
way quite irresponsibly for undreamt-of revolu- 
tions and alien lives. 

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A truly rational morality, or social regimen, 
has never existed in the world and is hardly to 
IjatXnai ^e l°°ked ^ or - What guides men and 
morality not nations in their practice is always 
attainable, Bome partial interest or some partial 
disillusion. A rational morality would imply 
perfect self-knowledge, so that no congenial good 
should be needlessly missed — least of all practi- 
cal reason or justice itself; so that no good con- 
genial to other creatures would be needlessly 
taken from them. The total value which every- 
thing had from the agent's point of view would 
need to be determined and felt efficaciously; and, 
among other things, the total value which this 
point of view, with the conduct it justified, would 
Have for every foreign interest which it affected. 
Such knowledge, such definition of purpose, and 
such perfection of sympathy are clearly beyond 
man's reach. All that can be hoped for is that 
the advance of science and commerce, by foster- 
ing peace and a rational development of char- 
acter, may bring some part of mankind nearer to 
that goal; but the goal lies, as every ultimate 
ideal should, at the limit of what is possible, and 
must serve rather to measure achievements than 
to prophesy them. 

In lieu of a rational morality, however, we have 
r ational ethics ; and this mere idea of a ra- 
but its prfn- tional morality is something val- 
cipie clear. uable. While we wait for the senti- 
ments, customs, and laws which should embody 

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perfect humanity and perfect justice, we may ob- 
serve the germinal principle of these ideal things; 
we may sketch the ground-plan of a true com- 
monwealth. This sketch constitutes rational eth- 
ics, as founded by Socrates, glorified by Plato, 
and sobered and solidified by Aristotle. It sets 
forth the method of judgment and estimation 
which a rational morality would apply universally 
and express in practice. The method, being very 
simple, can be discovered and largely illustrated 
in advance, while the complete self-knowledge 
and sympathy are still wanting which might 
avail to embody that method in the concrete and 
to discover unequivocally where absolute duty and 
ultimate happiness may lie. 

This method, the Socratic method, consists in 
accepting any estimation which any man may sin- 
it is the logic cere ty make, and in applying dialectic 
ofanauton- to it, so as to let the man see what 
omouiwiiL he reftlly esteems# what he really 

esteems is what ought to guide his conduct; for 
to suggest that a rational being ought to do what 
he feels to be wrong, or ought to pursue what 
- he genuinely thinks is worthless, would be to 
impugn that man's rationality and to discredit 
one's own. With what face could any man or 
god say to another: Your duty is to do what you 
cannot know you ought to do; your function is 
to suffer what you cannot recognise to be worth 
suffering? Such an attitude amounts to impos- 
ture* and excludes society; it is the attitude of a 

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detestable tyrant, and any one who mistakes it 
for moral authority has not yet felt the first 
heart-throb of philosophy. 

More even than natural philosophy, moral phil- 
osophy is something Greek : it is the appanage of 
Socrates' freemen. The Socratic method is the 
science. gou i f liberal conversation; it is com- 

pacted in equal measure of sincerity and courtesy. 
Each man is autonomous and all are respected; 
and nothing is brought forward except to be sub- 
mitted to reason and accepted or rejected by the 
self-questioning heart. Indeed, when Socrates 
appeared in Athens mutual respect had passed 
into democracy and liberty into license; but the 
stalwart virtue of Socrates saved him from being 
a sophist, much as his method, when not honestly 
and sincerely used, might seem to countenance 
that moral anarchy which the sophists had ex- 
pressed in their irresponsible doctrines. Their 
sophistry did not consist in the private seat which 
they assigned to judgment; for what judgment 
is there that is not somebody's judgment at some 
moment ? The sophism consisted in ignoring the 
living moment's intent, and in suggesting that 
no judgment could refer to anything ulterior, and 
therefore that no judgment could be wrong: in 
other words that each man at each moment was 
the theme and standard, as well as the seat, of 
his judgment. 

Socrates escaped this folly by force of hon- 
esty, which is what saves from folly in dialectic. 

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He built his whole science precisely on that in- 
tent which the sophists ignored; he insisted that 
people should declare sincerely what they meant 
and what they wanted; and on that living rock 
he founded the persuasive and ideal sciences of 
logic and ethics, the necessity of which lies all 
in free insight and in actual will. This will and 
insight they render deliberate, profound, unshak- 
able, and consistent. Socrates, by his genial mid- 
wifery, helped men to discover the truth and ex- 
cellence to which they were naturally addressed. 
This circumstance rendered his doctrine at once 
moral and scientific; scientific because dialecti- 
cal, moral because expressive of personal and liv- 
ing aspirations. His ethics was not like what has 
since passed under that name — a spurious phys- 
ics, accompanied by commandments and threats. 
It was a pliant and liberal expression of ideals, 
inwardly grounded and spontaneously pursued. 
It was an exercise in self-knowledge. 

Socrates' liberality was that of a free man 
ready to maintain his will and conscience, if need 
be, against the whole world. The 
totophfrtry 11 s °phists, on the contrary, were syco- 
and moral phants in their scepticism, and having 
y * inwardly abandoned the ideals of their 
race and nation — which Socrates defended with 
his homely irony — they dealt out their miscel- 
laneous knowledge, or their talent in exposition, 
at the beck and for the convenience of others. 
Their theory was that each man having a right 

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to pursue his own aims, skilful thinkers might, 
for money, furnish any fellow-mortal with instru- 
ments fitted to his purpose. Socrates, on the 
contrary, conceived that each man, to achieve his 
aims must first learn to distinguish them clearly; 
he demanded that rationality, in the form of an 
examination and clarification of purposes, should 
precede any selection of external instruments. 
For how should a man recognise anything useful 
unless he first had established the end to be sub- 
served and thereby recognised the good? True 
science, then, was that which enabled a man to 
disentangle and attain his natural good ; and such 
a science is also the art of life and the whole of 

The autonomous moralist differs from the 
sophist or ethical sceptic in this : that he retains 
his integrity. In vindicating his ideal he does 
not recant his human nature. In asserting the 
initial right of every impulse in others, he re- 
mains the spokesman of his own. Knowledge of 
the world, courtesy, and fairness do not neutral- 
ise his positive life. He is thoroughly sincere, as 
the sophist is not; for every man, while he lives, 
embodies and enacts some special interest; and • 
this truth, which those who confound psychology • 
with ethics may think destructive of all author- - 
ity in morals, is in fact what alone renders moral 
judgment possible and respectable. If the soph- 
ist declares that what his nature attaches him to 
is not " really " a good, because it would not be 

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a good, perhaps, for a different creature, he is a 
false interpreter of his own heart, and rather dis- 
creditably stultifies his honest feelings and ac- 
tions by those theoretical valuations which, in 
guise of a mystical ethics, he gives out to the 
world. Socratic liberality, on the contrary, is 
consistent with itself, as Spinozistic naturalism 
is also; for it exercises that right of private judg- 
ment which it concedes to others, and avowedly 
builds up the idea of the good on that natural 
inner foundation on which everybody who has 
it at all must inevitably build it. This func- 
tional good is accordingly always relative and 
good for something; it is the ideal which a vital 
and energising soul carries with it as it moves. 
It is identical, as Socrates constantly taught, 
with the useful, the helpful, the beneficent. It 
is the complement needed to perfect every art 
and every activity after its own kind. 

Rational ethics is an embodiment of volition, 
ngt a description of it. It is the expression of 
living interest, preference, and cate- 
gorical choice. It leaves to psychol- 
ogy and history a free field for the description of 
moral phenomena. It has no interest in slipping 
far-fetched and incredible myths beneath the 
facts of nature, so as to lend a non-natural origin 
to human aspirations. It even recognises, as an 
emanation of its own force, that uncompromising 
' truthfulness with which science assigns all forms 
of moral life to their place in the mechanical sys- 

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tern of nature. But the rational moralist is not 
on that account reduced to a mere spectator, a 
physicist acknowledging no interest except the 
interest in facts and in the laws of change. His 
own spirit, small by the material forces which it 4 
may stand for and express, is great by its preroga- ' 
tive of surveying and judging the universe; sur- . 
veying it, of course, from a mortal point of view, • 
and judging it only by its kindliness or cruelty * 
to some actual interest, yet, even so, determin- 
ing unequivocally a part of its constitution and 
excellence. The rational moralist represents a 
force energising in the world, discovering its 
affinities there and clinging to them to the ex- 
clusion of their hateful opposites. He repre- 
sents, over against the chance facts, an ideal em- 
bodying the particular demands, possibilities, and 
satisfactions of a specific being, (f 

This dogmatic position of reason is not un- 
critically dogmatic; on the contrary, it is the 
sophistical position that is uncritically neutral. 
All criticism needs a dogmatic background, else « 
it would lack objects and criteria for criticism. * 
The sophist himself, without confessing it, enacts 
a special interest. He bubbles over with convic- 
tions about the pathological and fatal origin of 
human beliefs, as if that could prevent some of 
them from being more trustworthy and truer 
than others. He is doubtless right in his psy- 
chology; his own ideas have their natural causes 
and their chance of signifying something real. 

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His scepticism may represent a wider experience 
than do the fanaticisms it opposes. But this 
sceptic also lives. Nature has sent her saps 
abundantly into him, and he cannot but nod dog- 
matically on that philosophical tree on which he 
is so pungent a berry. His imagination is unmis- 
takably fascinated by the pictures it happens to 
put together. His judgment falls unabashed, 
and his discourse splashes on in its dialectical 
march, every stepping-stone an unquestioned 
idea, every stride a categorical assertion. Does 
he deny this? Then his very denial, in its 
promptness and heat, audibly contradicts him 
and makes him ridiculous. Honest criticism con- 
sists in being consciously dogmatic, and consci- 
entiously so, like Descartes when he said, " I am." 
It is to sift and harmonise all assertions so as to 
make them a faithful expression of actual experi- 
ence and inevitable thought. 

Now will, no less than that reason which avails 
to render will consistent and far-reaching, ani- 
mates natural bodies and expresses 
altruism is their functions. It has a radical bias, 
natural self- a foregone, determinate direction, else 


it could not be a will nor a principle 
of preference. The knowledge of what other 
people desire does not abolish a man's own aims. 
Sympathy and justice are simply an expansion of 
the soul's interests, arising when we consider 
other men's lives so intently that something in 
us imitates and re-enacts their experience, so that 

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we move partly in unison with their movement, 
recognise the reality and initial legitimacy of 
their interests, and consequently regard their 
aims in our action, in so far as our own status 
and purposes have become identical with theirs. 
We are not less ourselves, nor less autonomous, 
for this assimilation, since we assimilate only 
what is in itself intelligible and congruous with 
our mind and obey only that authority which can 
impose itself on our reason. 

The case is parallel to that of knowledge. To 
know all men's experience and to comprehend 
their beliefs would constitute the most cogent 
and settled of philosophies. Thought would then 
be reasonably adjusted to all the facts of history, 
and judgment would grow more authoritative and 
precise by virtue of that enlightenment. So, too, 
to understand all the goods that any man, nay, 
that any beast or angel, may ever have pursued, 
would leave man still necessitous of food, drink, 
sleep, and shelter; he would still love; the comic, 
the loathsome, the beautiful would still affect 
him with unmistakable direct emotions. His 
taste might no doubt gain in elasticity by those 
sympathetic excursions into the polyglot world; 
the plastic or dramatic quality which had enabled 
him to feel other creatures' joys would grow by 
exercise and new overtones would be added to 
his gamut. But the foundations of his nature 
would stand; and his possible happiness, though 
some new and precious threads might be woven 

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into it, would not have a texture fundamentally 

The radical impulses at work in any animal 

must continue to speak while he lives, for they 

are his essence. A true morality does not have 

. to be adopted; the parts of it best practised are 

* those which are never preached. To be "con- 
- verted " would be to pass from one self -betrayal to 
v another. It would be to found a new morality 

on a new artifice. The morality which has genu- 
ine authority exists inevitably and speaks auton- 
omously in every common judgment, self-con- 
gratulation, ambition, or passion that fills the 
vulgar day. The pursuit of those goods which 
are the only possible or fitting crown of a man's 
life is predetermined by his nature; he cannot 
choose a law-giver, nor accept one, for none who 

* spoke to the purpose could teach him anything 

* but to know himself. Eational life is an art, not 
a slavery; and terrible as may be the errors and 
the apathy that impede its successful exercise, 
the standard and goal of it are given intrinsically. 
Any task imposed externally on a man is imposed 
by force only, a force he has the right to defy so 
soon as he can do so without creating some 
greater impediment to his natural vocation. 

Rational ethics, then, resembles prerational 

Rea precepts and half-systems in being 

i preM«B3itt- founded on impulse. It formulates 

pulses, a ^^^1 m0 rality. It is a settled 

method of achieving ends to which man is drawn 

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by virtue of his physical and rational constitution. 
By this circumstance rational ethics is removed 
from the bad company of all artificial, verbal, and 
unjust systems of morality, which in absolving 
themselves from relevance to man's endowment 
and experience merely show how completely ir- 
relevant they are to life. Once, no doubt, each 
of these arbitrary systems expressed (like the 
observance of the Sabbath) some practical inter- 
est or some not unnatural rite; but so narrow a 
basis of course has to be disowned when the pre- 
cepts so originating have been swollen into uni- 
versal tyrannical laws. A rational ethics reduces 
them at once to their slender representative role; 
and it surrounds and buttresses them on every 
side with all other natural ideals. 

Eational ethics thus differs from the pre- 
rational in being complete. There is one impulse 
. At , which intuitive moralists ignore : the 

but impulses . ° 

*% reduced to ^impulse to reflect. Human instincts 
harmony W / are ignorant, multitudinous, and con- 
tradictory. To satisfy them as they come is often 
impossible, and often disastrous, in that such sat- 
isfaction prevents the satisfaction of other in- 

• stincts inherently no less fecund and legitimate. 
When we apply reason to life we immediately de- 

* mand that life be consistent, complete, and sat- 
isfactory when reflected upon and viewed as a 
whole. This view, as it presents each moment 
in its relations, extends to all moments affected 
by the action or maxim under discussion; it has 

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no more ground for stopping at the limits of what 
is called a single life than at the limits of a 
single adventure. To stop at selfishness is not 
particularly rational. The same principle that 
- creates the ideal of a self creates the ideal of a 
.family or an institution. 

The conflict between selfishness and altruism 
is like that between any two ideal passions that 
Seif-iove in some particular may chance to be 
artificial. opposed; but such a conflict has no 
obstinate existence for reason. For reason the 
person itself has no obstinate existence. The 
ch aracte r which a man achieves at the best mo- 
ment of his life is indeed something ideal and 
significant; it justifies and consecrates all his co- 
herent actions and preferences. But the man's 
life, the circle drawn by biographers around the 
career of a particular body, from the womb to 
the charnel-house, and around the mental flux 
that accompanies that career, is no significant 
unity. All the substances and efficient processes 
"that figure within it come from elsewhere and 
"continue beyond; while all the rational objects 
"and interests to which it refers have a trans- 
personal status. Self-love itself is concerned 
with public opinion; and if a man concentrates 
his view on private pleasures, these may qualify 
the fleeting moments of his life with an intrinsic 
value, but they leave the life itself shapeless and 
infinite, as if sparks should play over a piece of 
burnt paper. 

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The limits assigned to the mass of sentience 
attributed to each man are assigned convention- 
ally; his prenatal feelings, his forgotten dreams, 
and his unappropriated sensations belong to his 
body and for that reason only are said to belong 
to him. Each impulse included within these lim- 
its may be as directly compared with the repre- 
sented impulses of other people as with the rep- 
resented impulses expected to arise later in the 
same body. Season lives among these repre- 
sented values, all of which have their cerebral 
seat and present efficacy over the passing thought ; 
and reason teaches this passing thought to believe 
in and to respect them equally. Their right is 
not less clear, nor their influence less natural, 
because they may range over the whole universe 
and may await their realisation at the farthest 
boundaries of time. All that is physically req- 
uisite to their operation is that they should be 
vividly represented; while all that is requisite ra- 
tionally, to justify them in qualifying actual life 
by their influence, is that the present act should 
have some tendency to bring the represented val- 
ues about. In other words, a rational mind would 
consider, in its judgment and action, every inter- 
est which that judgment or action at all affected; 
and it would conspire with each represented good 
in proportion, not to that good's intrinsic im- 
portance, but to the power which the present act 
might have of helping to realise that good. 

If pleasure, because it is commonly a result of 

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satisfied instinct, may by a figure of speech be 
called the aim of impulse, happiness, by a like 
The sanction fig^™, ma y ^ e called the aim of rea- 
of reason is son. The direct aim of reason is har-^ 
happiness. m0 ny ; yet harmony, when made to rule 
in life, gives reason a noble satisfaction which we 
call happiness. Happiness is impossible and even 
inconceivable to a mind without scope and with- 
out pause, a mind driven by craving, pleasure, 

> and fear. The moralists who speak disparag- 
ingly of happiness are less sublime than they 

v think. In truth their philosophy is too lightly 
ballasted, too much fed on prejudice and quibbles, 
for happiness to fall within its range. Happi- 
ness implies resource and security; it can be 
achieved only by discipline. Your intuitive mor- 
alist rejects discipline, at least discipline of the 
conscience ; and he is punished by having no lien 

' on wisdom. He trusts to the clash of blind forces 
in collision, being one of them himself. He de- 
mands that virtue should be partisan and unjust; 
and he dreams of crushing the adversary in some 
physical cataclysm. 

Such groping enthusiasm is often innocent and 
romantic; it captivates us with its youthful spell. 

* But it has no structure with which to resist the 
shocks of fortune, which it goes out so jauntily 

k to meet. It turns only too often into vulgarity 
and worldliness. A snow-flake is soon a smudge, 
and there is a deeper purity in the diamond. 
Happiness is hidden from a free and casual will; 

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it belongs rather to one chastened by a long edu- 
cation and unfolded in an atmosphere of sacred 
and perfected institutions. It is discipline that 
renders men rational and capable of happiness, 
by suppressing without hatred what needs to be 
suppressed to attain a beautiful naturalness. 
Discipline discredits the random pleasures of illu- 
sion, hope, and triumph, and substitutes those 
which are self -reproductive, perennial, and serene, 
because they express an equilibrium maintained 
with reality. So long as the result of endeavour 
is partly unforeseen and unintentional, so long as 
the will is partly blind, the Life of Reason is still 
swaddled in ignominy and the animal barks in 
the midst of human discourse. Wisdom and hap- 
piness consist in having recast natural energies 
in the furnace of experience. Nor is this experi- 
ence merely a repressive force. It enshrines the 
successful expressions of spirit as well as the 
shocks and vetoes of circumstance; it enables a 
man to know himself in knowing the world and 
to discover his ideal by the very ring, true or 
false, of fortune's coin. 

With this brief account we may leave the sub- 
ject of rational ethics. Its development is im- 
possible save in the concrete, when a 
impeded by legislator, starting from extant inter- 
ite chaotic es t B ^ considers what practices serve to 
render those interests vital and genu- 
ine, and what external alliances might lend them 
support and a more glorious expression. The 

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difficulty in carrying rational policy very far 
comes partly from the refractory materials at 
hand; and partly from the narrow range within,*, 
which moral science is usually confined. The 
materials are individual wills naturally far from 
unanimous, lost for the most part in frivolous 
pleasures, rivalries, and superstitions, and little 
inclined to listen to a law-giver that, like a new 
Lycurgus, should speak to them of unanimity, 
simplicity, discipline, and perfection. Devotion 
and singlemindedness, perhaps possible in the 
cloister, are hard to establish in the world; yet a 
rational morality requires that all lay activities, 
all sweet temptations, should have their voice in 
the conclave. Morality becomes rational pre- 
cisely by refusing either to accept human nature, 
as it sprouts, altogether without harmony, or to 
mutilate it in the haste to make it harmonious. 
The condition, therefore, of making a beginning 
in good politics is to find a set of men with well- 
knit character and cogent traditions, so that there 
may be a firm soil to cultivate and that labour 
may not be wasted in ploughing the quicksands. 
When such a starting-point is given, moral val- 
ues radiate from it to the very ends of the uni- 
anditeun- verse; and a failure to appreciate the 
recognised range over which rational estimation 
8COpe# spreads is a second obstacle to sound 

ethics. Because of this failure the earnest soul 
is too often intent on escaping to heaven, while 
the gross politician is suffered to declaim about 

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the national honour, and to promise this client 
an office, this district a favour, and this class an 
iniquitous advantage. Politics is expected to be 
sophistical ; and in the soberest parliaments hardly 
an argument is used or an ideal invoked which is 
not an insult to reason. Majorities work by a 
system of bribes offered to the more barren in- 
terests of men and to their more blatant preju- 
dices. The higher direction of their lives is rele- 
gated to religion, which, unhappily, is apt to 
suffer from hereditary blindness to natural needs 
and to possible progress. The idea that religion, 
as well as art, industry, nationality, and science, 
should exist only for human life's sake and in 
order that men may live better in this world, is 
an idea not even mooted in politics and perhaps 
opposed by an official philosophy. The enter- 
prise of individuals or of small aristocratic bodies 
has meantime sown the world which we call civil- 
ised with some seeds and nuclei of order. There 
are scattered about a variety of churches, indus- 
tries, academies, and governments. But the uni- 
versal order once dreamt of and nominally 
almost established, the empire of universal peace, 
all-permeating rational art, and philosophical 
worship, is mentioned no more. An unformu- - 
lated conception, the prerational ethics of pri- 
vate privilege and national unity, fills the back- ' 
ground of men's minds. It represents feudal 
traditions rather than the tendency really in- 
volved in contemporary industry, science, or 

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philanthropy. Those dark ages, from which our 

political practice is derived, had a political theory 

1 which we should do well to study; for their theory 

• about a universal empire and a catholic church 

• was in turn the echo of a former age of reason, 
% when a few men conscious of ruling the world 
v had for a moment sought to survey it as a whole 

* and to rule it justly. 

Modern rational ethics, however, or what ap- 
proaches most nearly to such a thing, has one 
advantage over the ancient and mediaeval ; it has 
profited by Christian discipline and by the greater 
gentleness of modern manners. It has recog- 
nised the rights of the dumb majority; it has 
revolted against cruelty and preventable suffer- 
ing and has bent itself on diffusing well-being — 
the well-being that people want, and not the so- 

* called virtues which a supercilious aristocracy may 
' find it convenient to prescribe for them. It has 

based ethics on the foundation on which actual 
" morality rests; on nature, on the necessities of 
social life, on the human instincts of sympathy 
n and justice. 

It is all the more to be regretted that the only 
modern school of ethics which is humane and 
Fallacy in honestly interested in progress should 
democratic have given a bad technical expression 
hedonism. ^ y. g g eneroug principles and should 

1 have substituted a dubious psychology for So- 

* cratic dialectic. The mere fact that somebody 
somewhere enjoys or dislikes a thing cannot give 

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direction to a rational will. That fact indicates . 
a moral situation but does not prescribe a defi- 
nite action. A partial harmony or maladjust- 
ment is thereby proved to exist, but the method 
is not revealed by which the harmony should be 
sustained or the maladjustment removed. A 
given harmony can be sustained by leaving things 
as they are or by changing them together. A 
maladjustment can be removed by altering the 
environment or by altering the man. Pleasures 
may be attached to anything, and to pursue them 
in the abstract does not help to define any par- 
ticular line of conduct. The particular ideal pre- 
exists in the observer; the mathematics of pleas- 
ure and pain cannot oblige him, for instance, to 
prefer a hundred units of mindless pleasure en- 
joyed in dreams to fifty units diffused over labour 
and discourse. He need not limit his efforts to 
spreading needless comforts and silly pleasures 
among the million; he need not accept for a goal 
a child's caprices multiplied by infinity. Even 
these caprices, pleasures, and comforts doubtless 
have their claims; but these claims have to be 
adjudicated by the agent's autonomous con- 
science, and he will give them the place they fill 
in his honest ideal of what it would be best to 
have in the world, not the place which they might 
pretend to usurp there by a sort of physical pres- 
sure. A conscience is a living function, expres- 
sing a particular nature; it is not a passive me- 
dium where heterogeneous values can find their 

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balance by virtue of their dead weight and 

A moralist is called upon, first of all, to decide 
in what things pleasure ought to be found. Of 
course his decision, if he is rational, will not be 
arbitrary; it will conscientiously express his own 
nature — on which alone honest ideals can rest — 
without attempting to speak for the deafening 
and inconstant convocation of the whole sentient 
universe. Duty is a matter of self-knowledge, 
not of statistics. A living and particular will 
therein discovers its affinities, broadens its basis, 
acknowledges its obligations, and co-operates with 
everything that will co-operate with it; but it con- 
tinues throughout to unfold a particular life, find- 
ing its supports and extensions in the state, the 
arts, and the universe. It cannot for a moment 
renounce its autonomy without renouncing rea- 
son and perhaps decreeing the extinction both of 
its own bodily basis and of its ideal method and 

Utilitarianism needs to be transferred to So- 
cratic and dialectical ground, so that interest in 
Sympathy a a ^ sen t interests may take its place in 
conditional a concrete ideal. It is a noble thing 
duty ' to be sensitive to others' hardships, and 

happy in their happiness; but it is noble because 
it refines the natural will without enfeebling it, 
offering it rather a new and congenial develop- 
ment, one entirely predetermined by the funda- 
mental structure of human nature. Were man 

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not gregarious, were he not made to be child, 
friend, husband, and father by turns, his moral- 
ity would not be social, but, like that of some 
silk-worm or some seraph, wholly industrious or 
wholly contemplative. Parental and sexual in- 
stincts, social life and the gift of co-operation 
carry sympathy implicitly with them, as they 
carry the very faculty to recognise a fellow- 
being. To make this sympathy explicit and to 
find one's happiness in exercising it is to lay one's 
foundations deeper in nature and to expand the 
range of one's being. Its limits, however, would 
be broken down and moral dissolution would set 
in if, forgetting his humanity, a man should bid 
all living creatures lapse with him into a delicious 
torpor, or run into a cycle of pleasant dreams, so 
intense that death would be sure to precede any 
awakening out of them. Great as may be the 
advance in charity since the days of Socrates, 
therefore, the advance is within the lines of his 
method; to trespass beyond them would be to 

This situation is repeated on a broader stage. 
A statesman entrusted with power should regard 
nothing but his country's interests; to regard any- 
thing else would be treason. He cannot allow 
foreign sentiment or private hobbies to make him 
misapply the resources of his fellow-countrymen 
to their own injury. But he may well have an 
enlightened view of the interests which he serves; 
he might indeed be expected to take a more pro- 

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found and enlightened view of them than his 
countrymen were commonly capable of, else he 
would have no right to his eminent station. He 
should be the first to feel that to inflict injury 
or foster hatred among other populations should 
not be a portion of a people's happiness. A na- 
tion, like a man, is something ideal. Indestruc- 
tible mountains and valleys, crawled over by any 
sort of race, do not constitute its identity. Its 
essence is a certain spirit, and only what enters 
into this spirit can bind it morally, or preserve it. 
If a drop of water contains a million worlds 
which I, in swallowing, may ruin or transform, 
that is Allah's business; mine is tp 
hence right clarify my own intent, to cling to what 
life, finite and ideals may lie within the circle of my 

particular. J J 

experience and practical imagination, 
so that I may have a natural ground for my loyal- 
ties, and may be constant in them. It would not 
be a rational ambition to wish to multiply the 
population of China by two, or that of America 
by twenty, after ascertaining that life there con- 
tained an overplus of pleasure. To weed a gar- 
den, however, would be rational, though the weeds 
and their interests would have to be sacrificed in 
the process. Utilitarianism took up false ground 
when it made right conduct terminate in miscel- 
laneous pleasures and pains, as if in their isola- 
tion they constituted all that morality had to 
consider, and as if respect offered to them, some- 
how in proportion to their quantity, were the true 

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conscience. The true conscience is rather an in- 
tegrated natural will, chastened by clear knowl- 
edge of what it pursues and may attain. What* 
morality has to consider is the form of life, not 
its quantity. In a world that is perhaps infinite, 
moral life can spring only from definite centres 
and is neither called upon nor able to estimate 
the whole, nor to redress its balance. It is the 
free spirit of a part, finding its affinities and 
equilibrium in the material whole which it reacts 
on, and which it is in that measure enabled to 

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When Socrates and his two great disciples 
composed a system of rational ethics they were 
Socratic hardly proposing practical legislation 

ethics wtro- for mankind. One by his irony, an- 
■ pectiTe * other by his frank idealism, and the 

third by his preponderating interest in history 
and analysis, showed clearly enough how little 
they dared to hope. They were merely writing 
an eloquent epitaph on their country. They were 
publishing the principles of what had been its 
life, gathering piously its broken ideals, and 
interpreting its momentary achievement. The 
spirit of liberty and co-operation was already dead. 
The private citizen, debauched by the largesses 
and petty quarrels of his city, had become indo- 
lent and mean-spirited. He had begun to ques- 
tion the utility of religion, of patriotism, and of 
justice. Having allowed the organ for the ideal 
to atrophy in his soul, he could dream of finding 
some sullen sort of happiness in unreason. He 
felt that the austere glories of his country, as a 
Spartan regimen might have preserved them, 
would not benefit that baser part of him which 

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alone remained. Political virtue seemed a use- 
less tax on his material profit and freedom. The 
tedium and distrust proper to a disintegrated so- 
ciety began to drive him to artificial excitements 
and superstitions. Democracy had learned to re- 
gard as enemies the few in whom public interest 
was still represented, the few whose nobler temper 
and traditions still coincided with the general 
good. These last patriots were gradually ban- 
ished or exterminated, and with them died the 
spirit that rational ethics had expressed. Phil- 
osophers were no longer suffered to have illusions 
about the state. Human activity on the public 
stage had shaken off all allegiance to art or 

The biographer of reason might well be tempted 
to ignore the subsequent attitudes into which 
Rise of dis- mor al life fell in the West, since they 
musioned all embodied a more or less complete 
moralities. <j e spair, an( l, having abandoned the' 
effort to express the will honestly and dialectic 
cally, they could support no moral sciencfe. The - 
point was merely to console or deceive the soul " 
with some substitute for happiness. Life is 
older and more persistent than reason, and the 
failure of a first experiment in rationality does 
not deprive mankind of that mental and moral 
vegetation which they possessed for ages in a wild 
state before the advent of civilisation. They 
merely revert to their uncivil condition and 
espouse whatever imaginative ideal comes to hand, 

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by which some semblance of meaning and beauty 
may be given to existence without the labour of 
building this meaning and beauty systematically 
out of its positive elements. 

Not to study these imaginative ideals, partial 
and arbitrary as they are, would be to miss one 
of the most instructive points of view from which 
*the Life of Reason may be surveyed : the point of 
iview of its satirists. For moral ideals may fol- 
low upon philosophy, just as they may precede it. 
When they follow, at least so long as they are 
consciously embraced in view of reason's failure, 
they have a quite particular value. Aversion to 
rational ideals does not then come, as the in- 
tuitionist's aversion does, from moral incoherence 
or religious prejudice. It does not come from 
lack of speculative power. On the contrary, it 
may come from undue haste in speculation, from 
a too ready apprehension of the visible march of 
things. The obvious irrationality of nature as a 
whole, too painfully brought home to a musing 
mind, may make it forget or abdicate its own 
rationality. In a decadent age, the philosopher 
who surveys the world and sees that the end of 
it is even as the beginning, may not feel that the 
intervening episode, in which he and all he values 
after all figure, is worth consideration; and he 
may cry, in his contemplative spleen, that all is 

If you should still confront him with a theory 
of the ideal, he would not be reduced, like the 

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pre-rational moralists in a similar case, to mere 
inattention and bluster. If you told him that 
every art and every activity involves a congruous 
good, and that the endeavour to realise the ideal 
in every direction is an effort of which reason 
necessarily approves, since reason is nothing but 
the method of that endeavour, he would not need 
to deny your statements in order to justify him- 
self. He might admit the naturalness, the spon- 
taneity, the ideal sufficiency of your conceptions; 
but he might add, with the smile of the elder and 
the sadder man, that he had experience of their 
futility. " You Hellenisers," he might say, " are 
but children; you have not pondered the little 
history you know. If thought were conversant 
with reality, if virtue were stable and fruitful, if 
pains and policy were ultimately justified by a 
greater good arising out of them — then, indeed, 
a life according to reason might tempt a philoso- 
pher. But unfortunately not one of those fond 
assumptions is true. Human thought is a mean- 
ingless phantasmagoria. Virtue is a splendid and 
laborious folly, when it is not a pompous garment 
that only looks respectable in the dark, being in 
truth full of spots and ridiculous patches. Men's 
best laid plans become, in the casual cross- 
currents of being, the occasion of their bitterest 
calamities. How, then, live ? How justify in our 
eyes, let us not say the ways of God, but our own 
ways ? " 

Such a position may be turned dialectically by 

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invoking whatever positive hopes or convictions 
The illusion ^e critic may retain, who while he 
subsisting lives cannot be wholly without them. 

intnem. g u j. ^ e p 0s fti n j g specious and does 
not collapse, like that of the intuitionist, at the 
first breath of criticism. Pessimism, and all the 
N moralities founded on despair, are not pre-rational 
but post-rational. They are the work of men 
who more or less explicitly have conceived the 
life of Reason, tried it at least imaginatively, and 
found it wanting. These systems are a refuge 
from an intolerable situation: they are experi- 
ments in redemption. As a matter of fact, ani- 
mal instincts and natural standards of excellence 
are never eluded in them, for no moral experi- 
ence has other terms; but the part of the natural 
ideal which remains active appears in opposition 
to all the rest and, by an intelligible illusion, 
seems to be no part of that natural ideal be- 
cause, compared with the commoner passions on 
which it reacts, it represents some simpler or 
more attenuated hope — the appeal to some 
very humble or very much chastened satisfac- 
tion, or to an utter change in the conditions 
of life. 

Post-rational morality thus constitutes, in in- 
tention if not in fact, a criticism of all experi- 
ence. It thinks it is not, like pre-rational moral- 
ity, an arbitrary selection from among co-ordinate 
precepts. It is an effort to subordinate all pre- 
cepts to one, that points to some single eventual 

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good. For it occurs to the founders of these sys- 
tems that by estranging oneself from the world, 
or resting in the moment's pleasure, or mortify- 
ing the passions, or enduring all sufferings in 
patience, or studying a perfect conformity with 
the course of affairs, one may gain admission to 
some sort of residual mystical paradise; and this 
thought, once conceived, is published as a revela- 
tion and accepted as a panacea. It becomes in 
consequence (for such is the force of nature) the 
foundation of elaborate institutions and elaborate 
philosophies, into which the contents of the 
worldly life are gradually reintroduced. 

When human life is in an acute crisis, the sick 
dreams that visit the soul are the only evidence 
of her continued existence. Through them she 
still envisages a good; and when the delirium 
passes and the normal world gradually re-estab- 
lishes itself in her regard, she attributes her re- 
generation to the ministry of those phantoms, a 
regeneration due, in truth, to the restored nutri- 
tion and circulation within her. In this way post- 
rational systems, though founded originally on 
despair, in a later age that has forgotten its dis- 
illusions may come to pose as the only possible 
basis of morality. The philosophers addicted to 
each sect, and brought up under its influence, 
may exhaust criticism and sophistry to show that 
all faith and effort would be vain unless their 
particular nostrum was accepted; and so a curious 
party philosophy arises in which, after discred- 

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iting nature and reason in general, the sectary 
puts forward some mythical echo of reason and 
nature as the one saving and necessary truth. 
The positive substance of such a doctrine is ac- 
cordingly pre-rational and perhaps crudely super- 
stitious; but it is introduced and nominally sup- 
ported by a formidable indictment of physical 
and moral science, so that the wretched idol ulti- 
mately offered to our worship acquires a spurious 
halo and an imputed majesty by being raised on 
a pedestal of infinite despair. 

Socrates was still living when a school of post- 
rational morality arose among the Sophists, which 
Epicurean after passing quickly through various 
refuge in phases, settled down into Epicurean- 
pleasure. j gm an( j j^g remame( l fte source of 

a certain consolation to mankind, which if some- 
what cheap, is none the less genuine. The pursuit 
of pleasure may seem simple selfishness, with a 
tendency to debauchery; and in this case the pre- 
rational and instinctive character of the maxim 
retained would be very obvious. Pleasure, to be 
sure, is not the direct object of an unspoiled will; 
but after some experience and discrimination, a 
man may actually guide himself by a foretaste of 
the pleasures he has found in certain objects and 
situations. The criticism required to distinguish 
what pays from what does not pay may not often 
be carried very far; but it may sometimes be 
carried to the length of suppressing every natural 
instinct and natural hope, and of turning the 

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philosopher, as it turned Hegesias the Cyrenaic, 
into a eulogist of death. 

The post-rational principle in the system then 
comes to the fore, and we see clearly that to sit 
down and reflect upon human life, picking out 
its pleasant moments and condemning all the 
rest, is to initiate a course of moral retrenchment. 
It is to judge what is worth doing, not by the 
innate ambition of the soul, but by experience of 
incidental feelings, which to a mind without crea- 
tive ideas may seem the only objects worthy of 
pursuit. That life ought to be accompanied by 
pleasure and exempt from pain is certain; for 
this means that what is agreeable to the whole 
process of nature would have become agreeable 
also to the various partial impulses involved — 
another way of describing organic harmony and 
physical perfection. But such a desirable har- 
mony cannot be defined or obtained by picking 
out and isolating from the rest those occasions 
and functions in which it may already have been 
reached. These partial harmonies may be actual 
arrests or impediments in the whole which is to 
be made harmonious; and even when they are 
innocent or helpful they cannot serve to deter- 
mine the form which the general harmony might 
take on. They merely illustrate its principle. 
The organism in which this principle of harmony 
might find pervasive expression is still potential, 
and the ideal is something of which, in its con- 
crete form, no man has had experience. It in- 

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volves a propitious material environment, perfect 
health, perfect arts, perfect government, a mind 
enlarged to the knowledge and enjoyment of all 
its external conditions and internal functions. 
Such an ideal is lost sight of when a man culti- 
vates his garden-plot of private pleasures, leaving 
it to chance and barbarian fury to govern the 
state and quicken the world's passions. 

Even Aristippus, the first and most delightful 
of hedonists, who really enjoyed the pleasures he 
advocated and was not afraid of the incidental 
pains — even Aristippus betrayed the post-rational 
character of his philosophy by abandoning poli- 
tics, mocking science, making his peace with all 

* abuses that fostered his comfort, and venting his 
^ wit on all ambitions that exceeded his hopes. A 

great temperament can carry off a rough philoso- 
phy. Rebellion and license may distinguish hon- 

* ourable souls in an age of polite corruption, and 
la grain of sincerity is better, in moral philosophy, 
[than a whole harvest of conventionalities. The 

violence and shamelessness of Aristippus were 
corrected by Epicurus; and a balance was found 
between utter despair and utter irresponsibility. 
Epicureanism retrenched much : it cut off politics, 
religion, enterprise, and passion. These things 
it convicted of vanity, without stopping to dis- 
tinguish in them what might be inordinate from 
what might be rational. At the same time it 
retained friendship, freedom of soul, and intel- 
lectual light. It cultivated unworldliness with- 

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out superstition and happiness without illusion. 
It was tender toward simple and honest things, 
scornful and bitter only against pretence and 
usurpation. It thus marked a first halting-place 
in the retreat of reason, a stage where the soul 
had thrown off only the higher and more entan- 
gling part of her burden and was willing to live, 
in somewhat reduced circumstances, on the re- 
mainder. Such a philosophy expresses well the 
genuine sentiment of persons, at once mild and 
emancipated, who find themselves floating on the 
ebb-tide of some civilisation, and enjoying its 
fruits, without any longer representing the forces 
that brought that civilisation about. 

The same emancipation, without its mildness, 
appeared in the Cynics, whose secret it was to 

CA . throw off all allegiance and all de- 

stoic recourse & 

to conform- pendence on circumstance, and to live 
ity * entirely on inner strength of mind, 

on pride and inflexible humour. The renuncia- 
tion was far more sweeping than that of Epicurus, 
and indeed wellnigh complete; yet the Stoics, in 
underpinning the Cynical self-sufliciency with a 
system of physics, introduced into the life of the 
sect a contemplative element which very much 
enlarged and ennobled its sympathies. Nature 
became a sacred system, the laws of nature being 
eulogistically called rational laws, and the neces- 
sity of things, because it might be foretold in 
auguries, being called providence. There was 
some intellectual confusion in all this; but con- 

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templation, even if somewhat idolatrous, has a 
purifying effect, and the sad and solemn review 
of the cosmos to which the Stoic daily invited 
his soul, to make it ready to face its destiny, 
doubtless liberated it from many an unworthy 
passion. The impressive spectacle of things was 
used to remind the soul of her special and appro- 
priate function, which was to be rational. This 
rationality consisted partly in insight, to perceive 
the necessary order of things, and partly in con- 
formity, to perceive that this order, whatever it 
might be, could serve the soul to exercise itself 
upon, and to face with equanimity. 

Despair, in this system, flooded a much larger 
area of human life; everything, in fact, was sur- 
rendered except the will to endure whatever 
might come. The concentration was much more 
marked, since only a formal power of perception 
and defiance was retained and made the sphere 
of moral life; this rational power, at least in. 
theory, was the one peak that remained visible 
above the deluge. But in practice much more 
was retained. Some distinction was drawn, how- 
ever unwarrantably, between external calamities 
and human turpitude, so that absolute conform- 
ity and acceptance might not be demanded by 
the latter; although the chief occasion which 
a Stoic could find to practise fortitude and recog- 
nise the omnipresence of law was in noting the 
universal corruption of the state and divining 
its ruin. The obligation to conform to nature 

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(which, strictly speaking, could not be disregarded 
in any case) was interpreted to signify that every 
one should perform the offices conventionally at- 
tached to his station. In this way a perfunctory 
citizenship and humanity were restored to the 
philosopher. But the restored life was merely 
histrionic: the Stoic was a recluse parading the 
market-place and a monk disguised in armour. 
His interest and faith were centred altogether on 
his private spiritual condition. He cultivated the 
society of those persons who, he thought, might 
teach him some virtue. He attended to the 
affairs of state so as to exercise his patience. He 
might even lead an army to battle, if he wished 
to test his endurance and make sure that phil- 
osophy had rendered him indifferent to the issue. 
The strain and artifice of such a discipline, 
with merely formal goals and no hope on earth 
Conformity or ^ heaven, could not long maintain 
the core of itself; and doubtless it existed, at a 
Mam# particular juncture, only in a few 

souls. Resignation to the will of God, says Bishop 
Butler, is the whole of piety; yet mere resigna- 
tion would make a sorry religion and the nega- 
tion of all morality, unless the will of God was 
understood to be quite different from his opera- 
tion in nature. To turn Stoicism into a work- 
able religion we need to qualify it with some 
pre-rational maxims. Islam, for instance, which 
boasts that in its essence it is nothing but the prim- 
itive and natural religion of mankind, consists in 

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abandoning oneself to the will of God or, in other 
words, in accepting the inevitable. This will of 
God is learned for the most part by observing the 
course of nature and history, and remembering 
the fate meted out habitually to various sorts of 
. men. Were this all, Islam would be a pure Stoi- 
* cism, and Hebraic religion, in its ultimate phase, 
-would be simply the eloquence of physics. It 
would not, in that case, be a moral inspiration at 
all, except as contemplation and the sense of 
one's nothingness might occasionally silence the 
passions and for a moment bewilder the mind. 
On recovering from this impression, however, 
men would find themselves enriched with no self- 
knowledge, armed with no precepts, and stimu- 
lated by no ideal. They would be reduced to en- 
acting their incidental impulses, as the animals 
are, quite as if they had never perceived that in 
doing so they were fulfilling a divine decree. 
Enlightened Moslems, accordingly, have often 
been more Epicurean than Stoical; and if they 
have felt themselves (not without some reason) 
superior to Christians in delicacy, in savoir vivre, 
in kinship with all natural powers, this sense of 
superiority has been quite rationalistic and purely 
human. Their religion contributed to it only 
because it was simpler, freer from superstition, 
nearer to a clean and pleasant regimen in life. 
Resignation to the will of God being granted, ex- 
pression of the will of man might more freely 

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What made Islam, however, a positive and con- 
tagious novelty was the assumption that God's 
enveloped in w ^ n^ght ^ e incidentally revealed to 
arbitrary prophets before the event, so that past 
doctrines. experience was not the only source 
from which its total operation might be gathered. 
In its opposition to grosser idolatries Islam might 
appeal to experience and challenge those who 
trusted in special deities to justify their worship 
in face of the facts. The most decisive facts 
against idolaters, however, were not yet patent, 
but were destined to burst upon mankind at the 
last day — and most unpleasantly for the majority. 
Where Mohammed speaks in the name of the uni- 
versal natural power he is abundantly scornful 
toward that fond paganism which consists in 
imagining distinct patrons for various regions of 
nature or for sundry human activities. In turn- 
ing to such patrons the pagan regards something 
purely ideal or, as the Koran shrewdly observes, 
worships his own passions. Allah, on the con- 
trary, is overwhelmingly external and as far as 
possible from being ideal. He is indeed the giver 
of all good things, as of all evil, and while his 
mercies are celebrated on every page of the 
Koran, these mercies consist in the indulgence 
he is expected to show to his favourites, and the 
exceeding reward reserved for them after their 
earthly trials. Allah's mercy does not exclude 
all those senseless and unredeemed cruelties of 
which nature is daily guilty; nay, it shines all the 

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more conspicuously by contrast with his essential 
irresponsibility and wanton wrath, a part of his 
express purpose being to keep hell full of men and 

The tendency toward enlightenment which 
Islam represents, and the limits of that enlight- 
enment, may be illustrated by the precept about 
unclean animals. Allah, we are told, being mer- 
ciful and gracious, made the world for man's use, 
with all the animals in it. We may therefore 
justly slaughter and devour them, in so far as 
comports with health ; but, of course, we may not 
eat animals that have died a natural death, nor 
those offered in sacrifice to false gods, nor swine; 
for to do so would be an abomination. 

Unfortunately religious reformers triumph not 
so much by their rational insight as by their halt- 
ing, traditional maxims. Mohammed 
alone tend it felt the unity of God like a philoso- 
practicai pher; but people listened to him be- 
cause he preached it like a sectary. 
Ood, as he often reminds us, did not make the 
world for a plaything; he made it in order to 
establish distinctions and separate by an immense 
interval the fate of those who conform to the 
truth from the fate of those who ignore it. 
Human life is indeed beset with enough imminent 
evils to justify this urgent tone in the Semitic 
moralist and to lend his precepts a stern practical 
ring, absent from merely Platonic idealisms. But 
this stringency, which is called positivism when 

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the conditions of welfare are understood, becomes 
fanaticism when they are misrepresented. Had 
Mohammed spoken only of the dynamic unity in 
things, the omnipresence of destiny, and the 
actual conditions of success and failure in the 
world, he would not have been called a prophet 
or have had more than a dozen intelligent fol- 
lowers, scattered over as many centuries; but the 
weakness of his intellect, and his ignorance of 
nature, made the success of his mission. It is 
easier to kindle righteous indignation against , 
abuses when, by abating them, we further our i 
personal interests; and Mohammed might have t 
been less zealous in denouncing false gods had 
his own God been altogether the true one. But, 
in the heat of his militancy, he descends so far 
as to speak of God's interests which the faithful 
embrace, and of fighting in God's cause. By these 
notions, so crudely pre-rational, we are allowed 
to interpret and discount the pantheistic sub- 
limities with which in most places we are regaled; 
and in order that a morality, too weak to be 
human, may not wither altogether in the fierce 
light of the Absolute, we are led to humanise 
the Absolute into a finite force, needing our 
support against independent enemies. So com- 
plete is the bankruptcy of that Stoic morality 
which thinks to live on the worship of That 
which Is. 

As extremes are said to meet, so we may say 
that a radical position is often the point of de- 

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parture for opposite systems. Pantheism, or relig- 
ion and morality abdicating in favour of physics, 
Moral am- ma y> ^ practice, be interpreted in 
Mguityin contrary ways. To be in sympathy 
pantheism. ^.^ ^ ^^ofe ma y geem to require 

us to outgrow and discard every part; yet, on the 
other hand, there is no obvious reason why Being 
should love its essence in a fashion that involves 
hating every possible form of Being. The wor- 
shipper of Being accordingly assumes now one, 
now the other, of two opposite attitudes, accord- 
ing as the society in which he lives is in a pre- 
rational or a post-rational state of culture. Pan- 
theism is interpreted pre-rationally, as by the 
early Mohammedans, or by the Hegelians, when 
people are not yet acquainted, or not yet dis- 
gusted, with worldliness; the Absolute then seems 
to lend a mystical sanction to whatever existences 
or tendencies happen to be afoot. Morality is 
reduced to sanctioning reigning conventions, or 
reigning passions, on the authority of the uni- 
verse. Thus the Moslems, by way of serving 
Allah, could extend their conquests and cultivate 
the arts and pleasures congenial to a self-sufficing 
soul, at once indolent and fierce; while the tran- 
scendentalists of our times, by way of accepting 
their part in the divine business, have merely 
added a certain speculative loftiness to the max- 
ims of some sect or the chauvinism of some 

To accept everything, however, is not an easy 

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nor a tolerable thing, unless you are naturally 
well pleased with what falls to your share. How- 
Underrtress, ever the Absolute may feel, a moral 
it becomes creature has to hate some forms of 
requires* being; and if the age has thrust these 
mythology. forms before a man's eyes, and im- 
posed them upon him, not being suffered by his 
pantheism to blame the Absolute he will (by an 
inconsistency) take to blaming himself. It will 
be his finitude, his inordinate claims, his enor- 
mous effrontery in having any will or any pref- 
erence in particular, that will seem to him the 
source of all evil and the single blot on the in- 
finite lucidity of things. Pantheism, under these 
circumstances, will issue in a post-rational mo- 
rality. It will practise asceticism and look for a 
mystical deliverance from finite existence. 

Under these circumstances myth is inevitably 
reintroduced. Without it, no consolation could 
be found except in the prospect of death and, 
awaiting that, in incidental natural satisfactions; 
whereby absorption in the Absolute might come 
to look not only impossible but distinctly unde- 
sirable. To make retreat out of human nature 
seem a possible vocation, this nature itself must, 
in some myth, be represented as unnatural; the 
soul that this life stifles must be said to come 
from elsewhere and to be fitted to breathe some 
element far rarer and finer than this sublunary 

A curious foothold for such a myth was fur- 

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nished by the Socratic philosophy. Plato, wafted 
by his poetic vision too far, perhaps, from the 
Atupanat- utilitarianism of his master, had eulo- 
urai world gmed concretions in discourse at the 

nudftbf Ihi 

Pfatonktotit expense of existences and had even 
of dialectic played with cosmological myths, meant 
to express the values of things, by speaking as if 
these values had brought things into being. The 
dialectical terms thus contrasted with natural 
objects, and pictured as natural powers, furnished 
the dogmas needed at this juncture by a post- 
rational religion. The spell which dialectic can 
exercise over an abstracted mind is itself great; 
and it may grow into a sacred influence and a 
positive revelation when it offers a sanctuary from 
a weary life in the world. Out of the play of 
notions carried on in a prayerful dream wonder- 
ful mysteries can be constructed, to be presently 
announced to the people and made the core of 
sacramental injunctions. When the tide of vul- 
gar superstition is at the flood and every form 
of quackery is welcome, we need not wonder that 
a theosophy having so respectable a core — some- 
thing, indeed, like a true logic misunderstood — 
should gain many adherents. Out of the names 
of things and of virtues a mystic ladder could be 
constructed by which to leave the things and the 
virtues themselves behind; but the sagacity and 
exigencies of the school would not fail to arrange 
the steps in this progress — the end of which was 
unattainable except, perhaps, in a momentary 

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ecstasy — so that the obvious duties of men would 
continue, for the nonce, to be imposed upon 
them. The chief difference made in morals would 
be only this : that the positive occasions and sanc- 
tions of good conduct would no longer be men- 
tioned with respect, but the imagination would 
be invited to dwell instead on mystical issues. 

Neo-Platonic morality, through a thousand 
learned and vulgar channels, permeated Chris- 
Hebr • Canity and entirely transformed it. 
cry for re- Original Christianity was, though in 
demption. another sense, a religion of redemp- 
tion. The Jews, without dreaming of original 
sin or of any inherent curse in being finite, had 
found themselves often in the sorest material 
straits. They hoped, like all primitive peoples, 
that relief might come by propitiating the deity. 
They knew that the sins of the fathers were vis- 
ited upon the children even to the third and 
fourth generation. They had accepted this idea 
of joint responsibility and vicarious atonement, 
turning in their unphilosophical way this law of 
nature into a principle of justice. Meantime the 
failure of all their cherished ambitions had 
plunged them into a penitential mood. Though 
in fact pious and virtuous to a faulty they still 
looked for repentance — their own or the world's 
— to save them. This redemption was to be ac- 
complished in the Hebrew spirit, through long- 
suffering and devotion to the Law, with the 
Hebrew solidarity, by vicarious attribution of 

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merits and demerits within the household of the 

Such a way of conceiving redemption was far 
more dramatic, poignant, and individual than the 
Neo-Platonic; hence it was far more popular and 
better fitted to be a nucleus for religious devo- 
tion. However much, therefore, Christianity 
may have insisted on renouncing the world, the 
flesh, and the devil, it always kept in the back- 

I ground this perfectly Jewish and pre-rational 
craving for a delectable promised land. The 
journey might be long and through a desert, but 
milk and honey were to flow in the oasis beyond. 
Had renunciation been fundamental or revulsion 
from nature complete, there would have been no 
much-trumpeted last judgment and no material 
kingdom of heaven. The renunciation was only 
temporary and j>artialjjthe revulsion was only 
against incidental evils. Despair touched noth- 
ing but the present-order of the world, though at 
first it took the extreme form of calling for its 
immediate destruction. This was the sort of 
despair and renunciation that lay at the bottom 
of Christian repentance; while hope in a new 
order of this world, or of one very like it, lay at 
the bottom of Christian joy. A temporary sac- 
rifice, it was thought, and a partial mutilation 
would bring the spirit miraculously into a fresh 
paradise. The pleasures nature had grudged or 
punished, grace was to offer as a reward for faith 
and patience. The earthly life which was vain 

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as an experience was to be profitable as a trial. 
Normal experience, appropriate exercise for the 
spirit, would thereafter begin. 

Christianity is thus a system of postpo ned ra-^ 
tionalism, a rationalism intercepted by a super- * 
«_ *_ m natural version of the conditions of ' 

The two fac- 
tors meet in happiness. Its moral principle is rea- 

Chri,tiaility - ^on— the_raljnSoral principle there 
is; its motive power is the impulse and natural 
hope to "be and to be happy. Christianity merely 
renews and reinstates these universal principles 
after a first disappointment and a first assault 
of despair, by opening up new vistas of accom- 
plishment, new qualities and measures of success. 
The Christian field of action being a wor ld of 
grace enveloping the world of nature, many trans- 
itory "Tetersals of acknowledged values may take 
place" in ~its code. Poverty, chastity, humility, 
obedience, self-sacrifice, ignorance, sickness, and 
dirt may all acquire a religious worth which rea- 
son, in its direct application, might scarcely have 
found in them; yet these reversed appreciations 
are merely incidental to a secret rationality, and 
are justified on the ground that human nature, 
as now found, is corrupt and needs to be purged 
and transformed before it can safely manifest its 
congenital instincts and become again an authori- 
tative criterion of values. In the kingdom of 
God men would no longer need to do penance, 
for life there would be truly natural and there 
the soul would be at last in her native sphere. 

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This submerged optimism exists in Christian- 
ity, being" a "heritage Troin the Jews ; ahJTfEbse" 
Protestant communities that have rejected the 
pagan and Platonic elements that overlaid it have 
little difficulty in restoring it to prominence. 
Not, however, without abandoning the soul of the 
gospel; f or the soul _of..ttL^^P5pel, though ex- 
pressed in the language of Messianic hopes,_is_. 
re ally pos t-rational. It was not to marry and be 
given in marriage, or to sit on thrones, or to un- 
ravel metaphysical mysteries, or to enjoy any of 
the natural delights renounced in this life, that 
Christ summoned his disciples to abandon all they 
had and to follow him. There was surely a 
deeper peace in his self-surrender. It was not 
a new thing even among the Jews to use the 
worldly promises of their exoteric religion as 
symbols for inner spiritual revolutions; and the 
change of heart involved in genuine Christianity 
was not a fresh excitation of gaudy hopes, nor a 
new sort of utilitarian, temporary austerity. It 
was an emptying of the will, in respect to all 
• human desires, so that a perfect charity and con- 
" templative justice, falling like the Father's gifts 
-ungrudgingly on the whole creation, might take 
the place of ambition, petty morality, and earthly 
desires. It was a renunciation which, at least in 
Christ himself and in his more spiritual disciples, 
did not spring from disappointed illusion or lead 
to other unregenerate illusions even more sure 
to be dispelled by events. It sprang rather from 

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a native speculative depth, a natural affinity to • 
the divine fecundity, serenity, and sadness of the • 
world. It was the spirit of prayer, the kindliness} 
and insight which a pure soul can fetch from/ 
contemplation. —* 

This mystical detachment, supervening on the 
dogged old Jewish optimism, gave Christianity a 
Consequent double aspect, and had some curious 
eiectidsm. consequence in later times. Those 
who were inwardly convinced — as most religious 
minds were under the Roman Empire — that all 
earthly things were vanity, and that they plunged 
the soul into an abyss of nothingness if not of 
torment, could, in view of brighter possibilities 
in another world, carry their asceticism and their 
cult of suffering farther than a purely negative 
system, like the Buddhistic, would have allowed. 
For a discipline that is looked upon as merely 
temporary can contradict nature more boldly 
than one intended to take nature's place. The 
hope of unimaginable benefits to ensue could 
drive religion to greater frenzies than it could * 
have fallen into if its object had been merely to * 
silence the will. Christianity persecuted, tor- 
tured, and burned. Like a hound it tracked the 
very scent of heresy. It kindled wars, and nursed 
furious hatreds and ambitions. It sanctified, 
quite like Mohammedanism, extermination and 
tyranny. All this would have been impossible , 
if, like Buddhism, it had looked only to peace and I 
the liberation of souls. It looked beyond; it I 

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dreamt of infinite blisses and crowns it should 
be crowned with before an electrified universe and 
an applauding God. These were rival baits to 
-those which the world fishes with, and were 
'snapped at, when seen, with no less avidity. 
Man, far from being freed from his natural pas- 
sions, was plunged into artificial ones quite as 
violent and much more disappointing. Buddhism 
had tried to quiet a sick world with anaesthetics; 
Christianity sought to purge it with fire. 

Another consequence of combining, in the 
Christian life, post-rational with pre-rational mo- 
tives, a sense of exile and renunciation with hopes 
of a promised land, was that esoteric piety could 
choose between the two factors, even while it gave 
a verbal assent to the dogmas that included both. 
Mystics honoured the post-rational motive and 
despised the pre-rational ; positivists clung to the 
second and hated the first. To the spiritually 
minded, whose religion was founded on actual in- 
k sight and disillusion, the joys of heaven could 
1 never be more than a symbol for the intrinsic 
worth of sanctity. To the worldling those heav- 
enly joys were nothing but a continuation of 
the pleasures and excitements of this life, serving 
to choke any reflections which, in spite of him- 
self, might occasionally visit him about the van- 
ity of human wishes. So that Christianity, even 
in its orthodox forms, covers various kinds of 
morality, and its philosophical incoherence betrays 
itself in disruptive movements, profound schisms, 

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and total alienation on the part of one Christian 
from the inward faith of another, Trappist or 
Calvinist may be practising a heroic and meta- 
physical self-surrender while the busy-bodies of 
their respective creeds are fostering, in God's 
name, all their hot and miscellaneous passions. 

This contradiction, present in the overt moral- 
ity of Christendom, cannot be avoided, however, 
by taking refuge again in pure asceti- 

'XH0 neflTAuOn 

of naturalism cism. Every post-rational system is 
never com- necessarily self -contradictory. Its de- 
spair cannot be universal nor its 
nihilism complete so long as it remains a coherent 
method of action, with particular goals and a 
steady faith that their attainment is possible. 
The renunciation of the will must stop at the point 
where the will to be saved makes its appearance : 
and as this desire may be no less troublesome and 
insistent than any other, as it may even become 
a tormenting obsession, the mystic is far from the 
end of his illusions when he sets about to dispel 
them. There is one rational method to which, 
in post-rational systems, the world is still thought 
to be docile, one rational endeavour which nature 
is sure to crown with success. This is the method 
of deliverance from existence, the effort after sal- 
vation. There is, let us say, a law of Karma, by 
which merit and demerit accruing in one incarna- 
tion pass on to the next and enable the soul to 
rise continuously through a series of stages. 
Thus the world, though called illusory, is not 

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wholly intractable. It provides systematically 
for an exit out of its illusions. On this rational 

" ordinance of phenomena, which is left standing 
by an imperfect nihilism, Buddhist morality is 

"built. Eational endeavour remains possible be- 
cause experience is calculable and fruitful in this 

* one respect, that it dissolves in the presence of 
-goodness and knowledge. 

Similarly in Christian ethics, the way of the 
cross has definite stations and a definite end. 
However negative this end may be thought to be, 
the assurance that it may be attained is a rem- 

* nant of natural hope in the bosom of pessimism. 
A complete disillusion would have involved the 
neglect of such an assurance, the denial that it 
was possible or at least that it was to be realised 
under specific conditions. That conversion and 
good works lead to something worth attaining is 
a new sort of positivistic hope. A complete scep- 
ticism would involve a doubt, not only concern- 
ing the existence of such a method of salvation, 
but also (what is more significant) concerning the 
importance of applying it if it were found. For 
to assert that salvation is not only possible but 
urgently necessary, that every soul is now in an 
intolerable condition and should search for an 

-ultimate solution to all its troubles, a restoration 

~ to a normal and somehow blessed state — what is 

this but to assert that the nature of things has 

a permanent constitution, by conformity with 

which man may secure his happiness? More- 

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over, we assert in such a faith that this natural 
constitution of things is discoverable in a suffi- 
cient measure to guide our action to a success- 
ful issue. Belief in Karma, in prayer, in sacraA 
ments, in salvation is a remnant of a natural \ 
belief in the possibility of living successfully.jj 
The remnant may be small and "expressed in 
fancy." Transmigration or an atonement may 
be chimerical ideas. Yet the mere fact of re- 
liance upon something, the assumption that the 
world is steady and capable of rational exploita- 
tion, even if in a supernatural interest and by 
semi-magical means, amounts to an essential 
loyalty to postulates of practical reason, an essen- r 
tial adherence to natural morality. 

The pretension to have reached a point of view 
from which all impulse may be criticised is ac- 
cordingly an untenable pretension. It is aban- 
doned in the very systems in which it was to be 
most thoroughly applied. The instrument of 
criticism must itself be one impulse surviving the 
wreck of all the others; the vision of salvation , 
and of the way thither must be one dream among • 
the rest. A single suggestion of experience is 
thus accepted while all others are denied; and 
although a certain purification and revision of 
morality may hence ensue, there is no real pene- 
tration to a deeper principle than spontaneous 
reason, no revelation of a higher end than the 
best possible happiness. One sporadic growth of 
human nature may be substituted for its whole 

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luxuriant vegetation; one negative or formal ele- 
ment of happiness may be preferred to the full 
entelechy of life. We may see the Life of Reason 
reduced to straits, made to express itself in a nig- 
gardly and fantastic environment; but we have, 
in principle and essence, the Life of Reason still, 
empirical in its basis and rational in its method, 

* its substance impulse and its end happiness. 

So much for the umbilical cord that unites 
every living post-rational system to the matrix 
Spontaneous °* numan hopes. There remains a 
values second point of contact between these 

rehabilitated. g y S t eing an( j rational morality : the re- 
instated natural duties which all religions and 
philosophies, in order to subsist among civilised 
peoples, are at once obliged to sanction and 

' somehow to deduce from their peculiar principles. 
The most plausible evidence which a supernatural 
doctrine can give of its truth is the beauty and 
rationality of its moral corollaries. It is in- 
structive to observe that a gospel's congruity with 

v natural reason and common humanity is regarded 

'as the decisive mark of its supernatural origin. 
Indeed, were inspiration not the faithful echo 
of plain conscience and vulgar experience there 
would be no means of distinguishing it from mad- 
ness. Whatever poetic idea a prophet starts 
with, in whatever intuition or analogy he finds a 
hint of salvation, it is altogether necessary that 
he should hasten to interpret his oracle in such 
a manner that it may sanction without disturb- 

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ing the' system of indispensable natural duties, 
although these natural duties, by being attached 
artificially to supernatural dogmas, may take on 
a different tone, justify themselves by a different 
rhetoric, and possibly suffer real transformation 
in some minor particulars. Systems of post- 
rational morality are not original works : they are 
versions of natural morality translated into dif- 
ferent metaphysical languages, each of which 
adds its peculiar flavour, its own genius and 
poetry, to the plain sense of the common original. 
In the doctrine of Karma, for instance, ex- 
perience of retribution is ideally extended and 
a witness out made precise. Acts, daily experience 
of India. teaches us, form habits ; habits consti- 

tute character, and each man's character, as 
Heraclitus said, is his guardian deity, the artisan 
of his fate. We need but raise this particular 
observation to a solitary eminence, after the man- 
ner of post-rational thinking; we need but im- 
agine it to underlie and explain all other empiri- 
cal observations, so that character may come to 
figure as an absolute cause, of which experience 
itself is an attendant result. Such arbitrary em- 
phasis laid on some term of experience is the 
source of each metaphysical system in turn. In 
this case the surviving dogma will have yielded 
an explanation of our environment no less than 
of our state of heart by instituting a deeper 
spiritual law, a certain balance of merit and de- 
merit in the soul, accruing to it through a series 

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of previous incarnations. This fabulous starting- 
point was gained by an imaginary extension of 
the law of moral continuity and natural retribu- 
tion; but when, accepting this starting-point, the 
believer went on to inquire what he should do to 
be saved and to cancel the heavy debts he in- 
herited from his mythical past, he would merely 
enumerate the natural duties of man, giving 
them, however, a new sanction and conceiving 
them as if they emanated from his new-born 
metaphysical theory. This theory, apart from a 
natural conscience and traditional code, would 
have been perfectly barren. The notion that 
every sin must be expiated does not carry with 
it any information about what acts are sins. 

This indispensable information must still be 
furnished by common opinion. Those acts which 
bring suffering after them, those acts which 
arouse the enmity of our fellows and, by a pre- 
monition of that enmity, arouse our own shame 
— those are assumed and deputed to be sinful; 
and the current code of morality being thus bor- 
rowed without begging leave, the law of absolute 
retribution can be brought in to paint the picture 
of moral responsibility in more glaring colours 
and to extend the vista of rewards and punish- 
ments into a rhetorical infinite. Buddhistic mo- 
rality was natural morality intensified by this 
forced sense of minute and boundless responsi- 
bility. It was coloured also by the negative, pes- 
simistic justification which this dogma gives to 

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moral endeavour. Every virtue was to be viewed 
as merely removing guilt and alleviating suffer- 
ing, knowledge itself being precious only as a 
means to that end. The ultimate inspiration of 
right living was to be hope of perfect peace — a 
hope generously bestowed by nature on every 
spirit which, being linked to the flux of things, 
is conscious of change and susceptible of weari- 
ness, but a hope which the irresponsible Oriental 
imagination had disturbed with bad dreams. A 
pathetic feminine quality was thereby imparted to 
moral feeling; we were to be good for pity's sake, 
for the sake of a great distant deliverance from 
profound sorrows. 

The pathetic idiosyncrasy of this religion has 
probably enabled it to touch many a heart and to 
Dignity of ^ ^ n *° speculation many a life other- 
post-rationai wise doomed to be quite instinctive 
mor*Hty. an( j ^^j^ it has kept morality 
pure — free from that admixture of worldly and 
partisan precepts with which less pessimistic sys- 
tems are encumbered. Restraint can be ration- 
ally imposed on a given will only by virtue of 
evils which would be involved in its satisfaction, 
by virtue, in other words, of some actual demand 
whose disappointment would ensue upon incon- 
siderate action. To save, to cure, to nourish are 
duties far less conditional than would be a sup- 
posed duty to acquire or to create. There is no 
harm in merely not being, and privation is an 
evil only when, after we exist, it deprives us of 

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something naturally requisite, the absence of 

• which would defeat interests already launched 

* into the world. If there is something in a purely 
remedial system of morality which seems one- 
sided and extreme, we must call to mind the far 
less excusable one-sidedness of those moralities 
of prejudice to which we are accustomed in the 
Occident — the ethics of irrational acquisitiveness, 
irrational faith, and irrational honour. Bud- 
dhistic morality, so reasonable and beautifully 
persuasive, rising so willingly to the ideal of 
sanctity, merits in comparison the profoundest 
respect. It is lifted as far above the crudities 
of intuitionism as the whisperings of an angel 
are above a schoolboy's code. 

A certain bias and deviation from strict reason 
seems, indeed, inseparable from any moral re- 
form, from any doctrine that is to be practically 
and immediately influential. Socratic ethics was 
too perfect an expression to be much of a force. 
Philosophers whose hearts are set on justice and 
pure truth often hear reproaches addressed to them 
by the fanatic, who contrasts the conspicuous 
change in this or that direction accomplished by 
his preaching with the apparent impotence of rea- 
son and thought. Season's resources are in fact so 
limited that it is usually reduced to guerilla war- 
fare : a general plan of campaign is useless when 
only insignificant forces obey our commands. 
Moral progress is for that reason often greatest 
when some nobler passion or more fortunate 

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prejudice takes the lead and subdues its meaner 
companions without needing to rely on the con- 
sciousness of ultimate benefits hence accruing 
to the whole life. So a pessimistic and merely 
remedial morality may accomplish reforms which 
reason, with its broader and milder suasion, might 
have failed in. If certain rare and precious vir- 
tues can thus be inaugurated, under the influence 
of a zeal exaggerating its own justification, there 
will be time later to insist on the complementary 
truths and to tack in the other direction after 
having been carried forward a certain distance 
by this oblique advance. 

At the same time neglect of reason is never 
without its dangers and its waste. The Bud- 
Absurdities dhistic system itself suffers from a 
nevertheless fundamental contradiction, because its 
involved. framers did not acknowledge the ac- 
tual limits of retribution nor the empirical ma- 
chinery by which benefits and injuries are really 
propagated. It is an onerous condition which 
religions must fulfil, if they would prevail in the 
world, that they must have their roots in the 
past. Buddhism had its mission of salvation; but 
to express this mission to its proselytes it was 
obliged to borrow the language of the fantastic 
metaphysics which had preceded it in India. The 
machinery of transmigration had to serve as a 
scaffolding to raise the monument of mercy, pur- 
ity, and spirituality. But this fabulous back- 
ground given to life was really inconsistent with 

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what was best in the new morality; just as in 
Christianity the post-rational evangelical ideals 
of redemption and regeneration, of the human 
will mystically reversed, were radically incom- 
patible with the pre-rational myths about a crea- 
tion and a political providence. The doctrine of 
Karma was a hypostasis of moral responsibility; 
but in making responsibility dynamic and all- 
explaining, the theory discountenanced in advance 
the charitable efforts of Buddhism — the desire to 
instruct and save every fellow-creature. For if 
all my fortunes depend upon my former conduct, 
I am the sole artificer of my destiny. The love, 
the pity, the science, or the prayers of others can 
have no real influence over my salvation. They 
cannot diminish by one tittle my necessary suffer- 
ings, nor accelerate by one instant the period 
which my own action appoints for my deliverance. 
> Perhaps another's influence might, in the false 
world of time and space, change the order or 
accidental vesture of my moral experiences; but 
their quantity and value, being the exact counter- 
part of my free merits and demerits, could not 
be affected at all by those extraneous doings. 
Therefore the empirical fact that we can help 
* one another remains in Buddhism (as in any 
-retributive scheme) only by a serious inconsis- 
tency; and since this fact is the sanction of what- 
ever moral efficacy can be attributed to Bud- 
dhism, in sobering, teaching, and saving mankind, 
anything inconsistent with it is fundamentally 

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repugnant to the whole system. Yet on that 
repugnant and destructive dogma of Karma 
Buddhism was condemned to base its instruction. 
This is the heavy price paid for mythical conso- 
lations, that they invalidate the moral values they 
are intended to emphasise. Nature has allowed 
the innocent to suffer for the guilty, and the guilty, 
perhaps, to die in some measure unpunished. To 
correct this imperfection we feign a closed circle 
of personal retributions, exactly proportionate to 
personal deserts. But thereby, without perceiv- 
ing it, we have invalidated all political and social 
responsibility, and denied that any man can be 
benefited or injured by any other. Our moral 
ambition has overleaped itself and carried us into 
a non-natural world where morality is impotent 
and unmeaning. 

Post-rational systems accordingly mark no real 
advance and offer no genuine solution to spiritual 
The soul of enigmas. The saving force each of 
positivism in them invokes is merely some remnant 
ail ideals. Q £ ^^ j^^a] energy which animates 

the human animal. Faith in the supernatural is 
a desperate wager made by man at the lowest ebb 
of his fortunes; it is as far as possible from being 
the source of that normal vitality which subse- 
quently, if his fortunes mend, he may gradually 
recover. Under the same religion, with the same 
posthumous alternatives and mystic harmonies 
hanging about them, different races, or the same 
race at different periods, will manifest the most 

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opposite moral characteristics. Belief in a thou- 
sand hells and heavens will not lift the apathetic 
out of apathy or hold back the passionate from 
passion ; while a newly planted and ungalled com- 
munity, in blessed forgetfulness of rewards or 
punishments, of cosmic needs or celestial sanc- 
tions, will know how to live cheerily and virtu- 
» ously for life's own sake, putting to shame those 
' thin vaticinations. To hope for a second life, to 
be had gratis, merely because this life has lost 
its savour, or to dream of a different world, be- 
cause nature seems too intricate and unfriendly, 
is in the end merely to play with words; since 
the supernatural has no permanent aspect or 
charm except in so far as it expresses man's nat- 
ural situation and points to the satisfaction of 
his earthly interests. What keeps supernatural 
morality, in its better forms, within the limits of 
sanity is the fact that it reinstates in practice, 
under novel associations and for motives osten- 
sibly different, the very natural virtues and hopes 
which, when seen to be merely natural, it had 
thrown over with contempt. The new dispensa- 
tion itself, if treated in the same spirit, would be 
*no less contemptible; and what makes it genu- 
inely esteemed is the restored authority of those 
' human ideals which it expresses in a fable. 

The extent of this moral restoration, the meas- 
ure in which nature is suffered to bloom in the 
sanctuary, determines the value of post-rational 
moralities. They may preside over a good life, 

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personal or communal, when their symbolism, 
though cumbrous, is not deceptive; when the 
supernatural machinery brings man back to 
nature through mystical circumlocutions, and 
becomes itself a poetic echo of experience and a 
dramatic impersonation of reason. The peculiar 
accent and emphasis which it will not cease to 
impose on the obvious lessons of life need not 
then repel the wisest intelligence. True sages 
and true civilisations can accordingly flourish 
under a dispensation nominally supernatural; for 
that supernaturalism may have become a mere 
form in which imagination clothes a rational and 
humane wisdom. 

People who speak only one language have some 
difficulty in conceiving that things should be ex- 
m ribu d pressed just as well in some other; a 
dreams and prejudice which does not necessarily 
peranniai involve their mistaking words for 
things or being practically misled by 
their inflexible vocabulary. So it constantly hap- 
pens that supernatural systems, when they have 
long prevailed, are defended by persons who have 
only natural interests at heart; because these per- 
sons lack that speculative freedom and dramatic 
imagination which would allow them to conceive 
other moulds for morality and happiness than 
those to which a respectable tradition has accus- 
tomed them. Sceptical statesmen and academic 
scholars sometimes suffer from this kind of numb- 
ness; it is intelligible that they should mistake 

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the forms of culture for its principle, especially 
when their genius is not original and their chosen 
function is to defend and propagate the local tra- 
ditions in which their whole training has im- 
mersed them. Indeed, in the political field, such 
concern for decaying myths may have a pathetic 
justification; for however little the life of or dig- 
nity of man may be jeopardised by changes in lan- 
guage, languages themselves are not indifferent 
things. They may be closely bound up with the 
peculiar history and spirit of nations, and their 
disappearance, however necessary and on the 
whole propitious, may mark the end of some stir- 
ring chapter in the world's history. Those whose 
vocation is not philosophy and whose country is 
not the world may be pardoned for wishing to 
v retard the migrations of spirit, and for looking 
^ forward with apprehension to a future in which 
v their private enthusiasms will not be understood. 
The value of post-rational morality, then, de- 
pends on a double conformity on its part with the 
Life of Eeason. In the first place some natural 
impulse must be retained, some partial ideal must 
still be trusted and pursued by the prophet of 
redemption. In the second place the intuition 
thus gained and exclusively put forward must be 
made the starting-point for a restored natural 
morality. Otherwise the faith appealed to would 
be worthless in its operation, as well as fanciful 
in its basis, and it could never become a mould 
for thought or action in a civilised society. 

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The same despair or confusion which, when it 
overtakes human purposes, seeks relief in arbi- 
trary schemes of salvation, when it overtakes 
human knowledge, may breed arbitrary substi- 
tutes for science. There are post-rational sys- 
tems of nature as well as of duty. Most of these 
are myths hardly worth separating from the post- 
rational moralities they adorn, and have been 
sufficiently noticed in the last chapter; but a few 
aspire to be critical revisions of science, them- 
selves scientific. It may be well, in bringing this 
book to a close, to review these proposed revisions. 
The validity of science is at stake, and with it 
the validity of that whole Life of Reason which 
science crowns, and justifies to reflection. 

There are many degrees and kinds of this criti- 
cal retractation. Science may be accepted bodily, 
while its present results are modified 
modes of by suggesting speculatively what its 
****** ultimate results might be. This is 


natural philosophy or legitimate meta- 
physics. Or science may be accepted in part, and 
in part subjected to control by some other alleged 
vehicle of knowledge. This is traditional or in- 

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tuitive theology. Or science may be retracted 
and withdrawn altogether, on the ground that it 
is but methodological fiction, its facts appear- 
ances merely, and its principles tendencies to 
feign. This is transcendentalism; whereupon a 
dilemma presents itself. We may be invited to 
abstain from all hypostasis or hearty belief in 
anything, and to dwell only on the consciousness 
of imaginative activity in a vacuum — which is 
radical idealism. Or we may be assured that, 
science being a dream, we may awake from it into 
another cosmos, built upon principles quite alien 
to those illustrated in nature or applicable in 
practice — which is idealism of the mythical sort. 
Finally it may occur to us that the criticism of 
science is an integral part of science itself, and 
that a transcendental method of survey, which 
marshals all things in the order of their discov- 
ery, far from invalidating knowledge can only 
serve to separate it from incidental errors and 
to disclose the relative importance of truths. 
Science would then be rehabilitated by criticism. 
The primary movement of the intellect would not 
be condemned by that subsequent reflection which 
it makes possible, and which collates its results. 
Science, purged of all needless realism and seen 
in its relation to human life, would continue to 
offer the only conception of reality which is per- 
tinent or possible to the practical mind. 

We may now proceed to discuss these various 
attitudes in turn. 

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A first and quite blameless way of criticising 
science is to point out that science is incomplete., 
Sdmce its That it grows fast is indeed its coin- 
own best monest boast; and no man of science 
"^ is so pessimistic as to suppose that its 

growth is over. To wish to supplement science 
and to regard its conclusions as largely provis- 
ional is therefore more than legitimate. It is 
actually to share the spirit of inquiry and to feel 
the impulse toward investigation. When new 
truths come into view, old truths are thereby re- 
interpreted and put in a new light; so that the 
acquisitions of science not only admit of revision 
but loudly call for it, not wishing for any other 
authority or vindication than that which they 
might find in the context of universal truth. 

To revise science in this spirit would be merely 
to extend it. No new method, no transverse phil- 
osophy, would be requisite or fitted for the task. 
Knowledge would be transformed by more similar 
knowledge, not by some verbal manipulation. 
Yet while waiting for experience to grow and ac- 
cumulate its lessons, a man of genius, who had 
drunk deep of experience himself, might imagine 
some ultimate synthesis. He might venture to 
carry out the suggestions of science and antici- 
pate the conclusions it would reach when com- 
pleted. The game is certainly dangerous, espe- 
cially if the prophecy is uttered with any air of 
authority; yet with good luck and a fine instinct, 
such speculation may actually open the way to 

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discovery and may diffuse in advance that virtual 
knowledge of physics which is enough for moral 
and poetic purposes. Verification in detail is 
needed, not so much for its own sake as to check 
speculative errors; but when speculation is by* 
chance well directed and hits upon the substantial 
truth, it does all that a completed science would 
do for mankind; since science, if ever completed, 
\ would immediately have to be summed up again 
and reduced to generalities. Under the circum- 
i- stances of human life, ultimate truth must forego 
/' detailed verification and must remain speculative. 
I The curse of modern philosophy is only that it 
I has not drawn its inspiration from science; as the 
misfortune of science is that it has not yet satu- 
rated the mind of philosophers and recast the 
moral world. The Greek physicists, puerile as 
was their notion of natural mechanism, had a 
more integral view of things. They understood 
nature's uses and man's conditions in an honest 
and noble way. If no single phenomenon had 
been explained correctly by any philosopher from 
Thales to Lucretius, yet by their frank and stu- 
dious contemplation of nature they would have 
liberated the human soul. 

Unfortunately the supplements to science which 
most philosophers supply in our day are not con- 
Obstruction ceived in a scientific spirit. Instead 
by alien of anticipating the physics of the fu- 

tnditions. ^ ure ^qj cling to the physics of the 
past. They do not stimulate us by a picture, 

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however fanciful, of what the analogies of nature 
and politics actually pDint to; they seek rather to 
patch and dislocate current physics with some 
ancient myth, once the best physics obtainable, 
Trom which they have not learned to extricate 
their affections. 

Sometimes these survivals are intended to 
modify scientific conceptions but slightly, and 
merely to soften a little the outlines of a cosmic 
picture to which religion and literature are not 
yet accustomed. There is a school of political 
conservatives who, with no specific interest in 
metaphysics, cannot or dare not break with tra- 
ditional modes of expression, with the customs 
of their nation, or with the clerical classes. They 
accordingly append to current knowledge certain 
sentimental postulates, alleging that what is es- 
tablished by tradition and what appeals to the 
heart must somehow correspond to something 
which is needful and true. But their conven- 
tional attachment to a religion which in its orig- 
inal essence was perhaps mystical and revolution- 
ary, scarcely modifies, in their eyes, the sum of 
practical assurances or the aim of human life. 
As language exercises some functions which sci- 
ence can hardly assume (as, for instance, in poetry 
and communication) so theology and metaphysics, 
which to such men are nothing but languages, 
might provide for inarticulate interests, and unite 
us to much that lies in the dim penumbra of our 
workaday world. Ancient revelations and mys- 

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teries, however incredible if taken literally, might 
therefore be suffered to flourish undisturbed, so 
long as they did not clash with any clear fact or 
natural duty. They might continue to decorate 
with a mystical aureole the too prosaic kernel of 
known truth. 

Mythology and ritual, with the sundry divina- 
tions of poets, might in fact be kept suspended 
with advantage over human passion 
anxiety for and ignorance, to furnish them with 
moral decent expression. But once indulged, 


divination is apt to grow arrogant and 
dogmatic. When its oracles have become tra- 
\ j ditional they are almost inevitably mistaken for 
' sober truths. Hence the second kind of supple- 
ment offered to science, so that revelations with 
which moral life has been intertwined may find 
a place beside or beyond science. The effort is 
honest, but extraordinarily short-sighted. What- 
* ever value those revelations may have they draw 
from actual experience or inevitable ideals. 
When the ground of that experience and those 
ideals is disclosed by science, nothing of any value 
is lost; it only remains to accustom ourselves to a 
i new vocabulary and to shift somewhat the asso- 
ciations of those values which life contains or 
"pursues. Eevelations are necessarily mythical 
and subrational; they express natural forces and 
human interests in a groping way, before the 
advent of science. To stick in them, when some- 
thing more honest and explicit is available, is in- 

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consistent with caring for attainable welfare or 
understanding the situation. It is to be stubborn 
and negligent under the cloak of religion. These 
prejudices are a drag on progress, moral no less 
than material; and the sensitive conservatism that 
fears they may be indispensable is entangled in a 
pathetic delusion. It is conservatism in a ship- 
wreck. It has not the insight to embrace the 
fertile principles of life, which are always ready 
to renew life after no matter what natural catas- 
trophe. The good laggards have no courage to 
strip for the race. Eather than live otherwise, 
and live better, they prefer to nurse the memories 
of youth and to die with a retrospective smile 
upon their countenance. 

Far graver than the criticism which shows sci- 
ence to be incomplete is that which shows it to 
be relative. The fact is undeniable, 
imaginative though the inferences made from it 

and practical are ft en ras h ^fl gratuitous. We 

have seen that science is nothing but 
developed, perception, interpreted intent, common- 
sense rounded out and minutely articulated. It 
is therefore as much an instinctive product, as 
much a stepping forth of human courage in the 
dark, as is any inevitable dream or impulsive 
action. Like life itself, like any form of deter- 
minate existence, it is altogether autonomous and 
unjustifiable from the outside. It must lean on 
its own vitality; to sanction reason there is only 
reason, and to corroborate sense there is nothing 

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but sense. Inferential thought is a venture not 
to be approved of, save by a thought no less ven- 

' turesome and inferential. This is once for all 
the fate of a living being — it is the very essence 
of spirit — to be ever on the wing, borne by inner 

\ forces toward goals of its own imagining, con- 
fined to a passing apprehension of a represented 
world. Mind, which calls itself the organ of 

* truth, is a permanent possibility of error. The 
encouragement and corroboration which science 
is alleged to receive from moment to moment 
may, for aught it knows, be simply a more in- 
genious self-deception, a form of that cumulative 
illusion by which madness can confirm itself, 
creating a whole world, with an endless series of 
martyrs, to bear witness to its sanity. 

To insist on this situation may seem idle, since 
no positive doctrine can gain thereby in plausi- 
bility, and no particular line of action in reason- 
ableness. Yet this transcendental exercise, this 
reversion to the immediate, may be recommended 
by way of a cathartic, to free the mind from 
ancient obstructions and make it hungrier and 
more agile in its rational faith. Scepticism is 
harmless when it is honest and universal; it 
clears the air and is a means of reorganising 
belief on its natural foundations. Belief is an 
inevitable accompaniment of practice and intent, 
both of which it will cling to all the more closely 
after a thorough criticism. When all beliefs are 
challenged together, the just and necessary ones 

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have a chance to step forward and to re-establish 
themselves alone. The doubt cast on science, 
when it is an ingenuous and impartial doubt, will 
accordingly serve to show what sort of thing sci- 
ence is, and to establish it on a sure foundation. 
Science will then be seen to be tentative, genial, 
practical, and humane, full of ideality and pathos, 
like every great human undertaking. 

Unfortunately a searching disintegration of 
dogma, a conscientious reversion to the immedi- 
Arritee-pemte a * e > * B se ^om practised for its own 
intranscen- sake. So violent a disturbance of 
toitaMtta. mental habits needs some great social 
upheaval or some revolutionary ambition to bring 
it about. The transcendental philosophy might 
never have been put forward at all, had its au- 
thors valued it for what it can really accomplish. 
The effort would have seemed too great and the 
result too nugatory. Their criticism of knowl- 
edge was not freely undertaken, with the pure 
speculative motive of understanding and purify- 
ing human science. They were driven on by the 
malicious psychology of their predecessors, by 
the perplexities of a sophistical scepticism, and 
by the imminent collapse of traditional meta- 
physics. They were enticed at the same time by 
the hope of finding a new basis for the religious 
myths associated with that metaphysics. In con- 
sequence their transcendentalism was not a re- 
hearsal of the Life of Season, a retrospect criti- 
cising and justifying the phases of human 

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progress. It was rather a post-rational system of 
theology, the dangerous cure to a harmless disease, 
inducing a panic to introduce a fable. The panic 
came from the assumption (a wholly gratuitous 
one) that a spontaneous constructive intellect 
cannot be a trustworthy instrument, that appear- 
ances cannot be the properties of reality, and 
that things cannot be what science finds that 
they are. We were forbidden to believe in any- 
thing we might discover or to trust in anything 
we could see. The artificial vacuum thus pro- 
duced in the mind ached to be filled with some- 
thing, and of course a flood of rhetorical com- 
monplaces was at hand, which might rush in to 
fill it. 

The most heroic transcendentalists were but 
men, and having imagined that logic obliged them 
its romantic to abstain from every sort of hypos- 
sincerity, tasis, they could not long remain true 
to their logic. For a time, being of a buoyant 
disposition, they might feel that nothing could 
be more exhilarating than to swim in the void, 
altogether free from settled conditions, altogether 
the ignorant creators of each moment's vision. 
Such a career evidently affords all sorts of possi- 
bilities, except perhaps the possibility of being a 
career. But when a man has strained every nerve 
to maintain an absolute fluidity and a painful 
fidelity to the immediate, he can hardly be 
blamed if he lapses at last into some flattering 
myth, and if having satisfied himself that all sci- 

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ence is fiction he proclaims some fairy-tale to be 
the truth. The episodes of experience, not being 
due to any conceivable machinery beneath, might i 
come of mere willing, or at the waving of a dia- 
lectical wand. Yet apart from this ulterior in- 
consistency and backsliding into credulity, tran- 
scendentalism would hear nothing of causes or 
grounds. All phenomena existed for it on one 
flat level. We were released from all dogma 
and reinstated in the primordial assurance that 
we were all there was, but without under- 
standing what we were, and without any means 
of controlling our destiny, though cheered by 
the magnificent feeling that that destiny was 

It is intelligible that a pure transcendentalism 
of this sort should not be either stable or popu- 

it» construe- ^ T ' ** mav ^ e a< l m i re( l * or its analyt- 
tive impo- ic depth and its persistency in tracing A 
tence. ^ supposed existences back to the ex- 

perience that vouches for them. Yet a spirit 
that finds its only exercise in gloating on the con- 
sciousness that it is a spirit, one that has so little 
skill in expression that it feels all its embodiments 
to be betrayals and all its symbols to be misrepre- 
sentations, is a spirit evidently impotent and con- 
fused. It is self-inhibited, and cannot fulfil its 
essential vocation by reaching an embodiment at 
once definitive and ideal, philosophical and true. 
We may excuse a school that has done one orig- 
inal task so thoroughly as transcendentalism has 

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done its examination of the cognitive conscience, 
* if it has failed to do something else to which it 
did not distinctly address itself and for which it 
had no aptitude — namely, to discover what is 
really true. But it becomes necessary to note 
this limitation, especially when it is virtually dis- 
allowed, and when science is systematically dis- 
paraged in favour of a method that is merely 
disintegrating and incapable of establishing a 
single positive truth. 

The legitimacy of the transcendental method is 
so obvious that it is baffling when unfamiliar and 
trifling when understood. It is somewhat like 
the scientific discovery that man is an animal; for 
in spite of its pompous language and unction, 
transcendentalism, when not transcended, is a 
stopping short at the vegetative and digestive 
stage of consciousness, where nothing seems to be 
v anything but a play of variations in the imme- 
diate. That is what science has risen from; it 
is the primordial slime. But to stop there and 
make life consist in hearing the mind work is 
illiberal and childish. Maturity lies in taking 
reason at its word and learning to believe and to 
do what it bids us. Inexperience, pedantry, and 
mysticism — three obstacles to wisdom — were not 
absent from those academic geniuses by whom 
transcendentalism was first brought forth.. They 
became consequently entangled in their profund- 
ity, and never were masters of their purposes or 
of their tools. 

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The dethronement of empirical knowledge 
which these philosophers announced was occa- 
its depend- sioned by the discovery that empirical 
enceoncom- knowledge was ideal and hypothetical; 
mon-sense. ^ a t its terms, like all terms in 
thought, were thrown out during the fission or 
crystallisation of a growing experience. Science 
accordingly was merely a set of ideas; its subject- 
matter seemed to be sucked in and absorbed by 
the theory that presented it, so that when the 
history of science was written the whole substance 
and meaning of science was exhausted. This 
damaging implication, that what is ideal is imag- 
inary and that what is inferred exists only in the 
fooled mind that infers it, would, if it were 
allowed, make short work of all philosophy. 
Theology would fare no better than science, and 
it is hard to see how transcendental idealism it- 
self could stand, if it pretended to constitute an 
articulate theory of reality. All faith would be 
invalidated, since it would be proved to be faith 
only, having no real object. But then history 
itself is a science; and to represent a series of 
events or related phenomena in time would be 
to pretend to impossible knowledge. It would 
become necessary to retract and withdraw the 
alleged evolution of thought itself, in which sci- 
ence was to figure as an imaginative device and 
a passing episode. History and experience would 
be nothing but the idea of them; and the Abso- 
lute Ego or Absolute Life also, in so far as any- 

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thing could be said of it, would be simply an in- 
tegral term in the discourse that described it. 
And this discourse, this sad residuum of reality, 
would remain an absolute datum without a 
ground, without a subject-matter, without a past, 
and without a future. 

It suffices, therefore, to take the supposed nega- 
tive implication in transcendentalism a little 
seriously to see that it leaves nothing 
standing but negation and imbecility; 
so that we may safely conclude that such a nega- 
tive implication is gratuitous, and also that in 
taking the transcendental method for an instru- 
ment of reconstruction its professors were radi- 
cally false to it. They took the starting-point of 
experience, on which they had fallen back, for its 
ultimate deliverance, and in reverting to proto- 
plasm they thought they were rising to God. The 
transcendental method is merely retrospective ; its 
use is to recover more systematically conceptions 
already extant and inevitable. It invalidates 
nothing in science; much less does it carry with 
it any rival doctrine of its own. Every philos- 
ophy, even materialism, may find a transcenden- 
tal justification, if experience as it develops will 
yield no other terms. What has reason to 
tremble at a demand for its credentials is surely 
not natural science; it is rather those mystical 
theologies or romantic philosophies of history 
which aspire to take its place. Such lucubra- 
. tions, even if reputed certain, can scarcely be 

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really credited or regarded in practice; while sci- 
entific tenets are necessarily respected, even when 
they are declared to be fictions. This nemesis is 
inevitable; for the mind must be inhabited, and 
the ideas with which science peoples it are sim- 
ply its involuntary perceptions somewhat more 
clearly arranged. 

That the relativity of science — its being an 
emanation of human life — is nothing against its 
ideal science truth appears best, perhaps, in the 
i» self- case of dialectic. Dialectic is valid by 

virtue of an intended meaning and felt 
congruity in its terms; but these terms, which 
intent fixes, are external and independent in their 
ideal nature, and the congruity between them is 
not created by being felt but, whether inciden- 
tally felt or not, is inherent in their essence. 
Mathematical thinking is the closest and most in- 
timate of mental operations, nothing external 
being called in to aid; yet mathematical truth is 
as remote as possible from being personal or 
psychic. It is absolutely self-justified and is 
necessary before it is discovered to be so. Here, 
then, is a conspicuous region of truth, disclosed 
to the human intellect by its own internal exer- 
cise, which is nevertheless altogether independent, 
being eternal and indefeasible, while the thought 
that utters it is ephemeral. 

The validity of material science, not being war- 
ranted by pure insight, cannot be so quickly made 
out; nevertheless it cannot be denied systemati- 

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cally, and the misunderstood transcendentalism 
which belittles physics contradicts its own basis. 
For how are we supposed to know that 
what we call facts are mere appear- 
ances and what we call objects mere 
creations of thought? We know this 
by physics. It is physiology, a part of physics, that 
assures us that our senses and brains are con- 
ditions of our experience. Were it not for what 
we know of the outer world and of our place in 
it, we should be incapable of attaching any mean- 
ing to subjectivity. The flux of things would 
then go on in their own medium, not in our 
minds; and no suspicion of illusion or of qualifi- 
cation by mind would attach to any event in na- 
ture* So it is in a dream ; and it is our knowledge 
of physics, our reliance on the world's material 
coherence, that marks our awakening, and that 
constitutes our discovery that we exist as minds 
and are subject to dreaming. It is quite true that 
the flux, as it exists in men, is largely psychic; but 
only because the events it contains are effects of 
material causes and the images in it are flying 
shadows cast by solid external things. This is 
the meaning of psychic existence, and its differen- 
tia. Mind is an expression, weighted with emo- 
tion, of mechanical relations among bodies. Sup- 
pose the bodies all removed: at once the images 
formerly contrasted with those bodies would re- 
sume their inherent characteristics and mutual 
relation; they would become existences in their 

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own category, large, moving, coloured, distributed 
to right and left; that is, save for their values, 
they would become material things. 

Physics is accordingly a science which, though 
hypothetical and only verifiable by experiment, is 
"involved in history and psychology and 

ail under- therefore in any criticism of knowl- 
■tandingof edge. The contradiction would be 

perception. * 

curious if a man should declare that 
his ideas were worthless, being due to his organs 
of sense, and that therefore these organs (since 
he had an idea of them) did not exist. Yet on 
this brave argument idealism chiefly rests. It as- 
serts that bodies are mere ideas, because it is 
through our bodies that we perceive them. When 
physics has discovered the conditions under which 
knowledge of physics has arisen, physics is sup- 
posed to be spirited away; whereas, of course, it 
has only closed its circle and justified its sov- 
ereignty. Were all science retracted and re- 
duced to symbolic calculation nothing would re- 
main for this calculation to symbolise. The 
whole force of calling a theory merely a vehicle 
or method of thought, leading us to something 
different from itself, lies in having a literal 
knowledge of this other thing. But such literal 
knowledge is the first stage of science, which the 
other stages merely extend. So that when, under 
special circumstances, we really appeal to alge- 
braic methods of expression and think in symbols, 
we do so in the hope of transcribing our terms, 

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when the reckoning is over, into the language of 
familiar facts. Were these facts not forthcom- 
ing, the symbolic machinery would itself become 
the genuine reality — since it is really given — and 
we should have to rest in it, as in the ultimate 
truth. This is what happens in mythology, when 
the natural phenomena expressed by it are for- 
gotten. But natural phenomena themselves are 
symbols of nothing, because they are primary 
data. They are the constitutive elements of the 
reality they disclose. 

The validity of science in general is accord- 
ingly established merely by establishing the truth 
of its particular propositions, in dia- 
taini an trust- lectic on the authority of intent and 
worthy j n physics on that of experiment. It 

knowledge. . \ 

is impossible to base science on a 
deeper foundation or to override it by a higher 
knowledge. What is called metaphysics, if not 
an anticipation of natural science, is a confusion 
of it with dialectic or a mixture of it with myths. 
If we have the faculty of being utterly sincere 
and of disintegrating the conventions of language 
and religion, we must confess that knowledge is 
only a claim we put forth, a part of that unfath- 
omable compulsion by force of which we liv*, and 
hold our painted world together for a moment. 
If we have any insight into mind, or any eye for 
human history, we must confess at the same time 
that the oracular substitutes for knowledge to 
which, in our perplexities, we might be tempted 

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to fly, are pathetic popular fables, having no other 
sanctity than that which they borrow from the 
natural impulses they play upon. To live by sci- 
ence requires intelligence and faith, but not to 
live by it is folly. 

If science thus contains the sum total of our 
rational convictions and gives us the only picture 
it suffices for °* re& ltty on which we should care to 
the Life of dwell, we have but to consult the sci- 
Reason. ences in detail to ascertain, as far as 

that is possible, what sort of a universe we live 
in. The result is as yet far from satisfactory. 
The sciences have not joined hands and made 
their results coherent, showing nature to be, as 
it doubtless is, all of one piece. The moral sci- 
ences especially are a mass of confusion. Nega- 
tive, I think, must be the attitude of reason, in 
the present state of science, upon any hypothesis 
far outrunning the recorded history and the vis- 
ible habitat of the human race. Yet exactly the 
same habits and principles that have secured our 
present knowledge are still active within us, and 
promise further discoveries. It is more desirable 
to clarify our knowledge within these bounds 
than to extend it beyond them. For while the 
reward of action is contemplation or, in more 
modern phrase, experience and consciousness, 
there is nothing stable or interesting to contem- 
plate except objects relevant to action — the nat- 
ural world and the mind's ideals. 

Both the conditions and the standards of ac- 

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tion lie well within the territory which science, 
after a fashion, already dominates. But there 
remain unexplored jungles and monster-breeding 
lairs within our nominal jurisdiction which it is 
the immediate task of science to clear. The 
darkest spots are in man himself, in his fitful, 
irrational disposition. Gould a better system pre- 
vail in our lives a better order would establish 
itself in our thinking. It has not been for want 
of keen senses, or personal genius, or a constant 
order in the outer world, that mankind have fallen 
back repeatedly into barbarism and superstition. 
It has been for want of good character, good 
example, and good government. There is a path- 
etic capacity in men to live nobly, if only they 
would give one another the chance. The ideal of 
political perfection, vague and remote as it yet 
seems, is certainly approachable, for it is as defi- 
nite and constant as human nature. The knowl- 
edge of all relevant truth would be involved in 
that ideal, and no intellectual dissatisfaction 
would be felt with a system of ideas that should 
express and illumine a perfect life. 


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